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State to delay policy for two children per woman

 File photo of 11 children of Erastus Nyamawi, 48 and Leah Kwekwe, 37 at their home in Kinagoni village in Kwale. In 2017 they decided to adopt family planning [Tobias Chanji| Standard]

The Government has revised the two-child per woman policy that was launched in 2012.

This was meant to ensure women give birth to only two children by 2030 but now this has been delayed to 2050.

In 2012, Parliament passed the Sessional Paper No 3 which provided for women to give birth to only two children by 2030.

To achieve this the government had targeted to have 70 per cent of women on contraceptives by 2030.

Latest data from the Ministry of Health shows Kenya has surpassed the short term contraceptive use by reaching 58 per cent coverage ahead of the targeted 2020.

However a report by the ministry and USAID: ‘Setting New Goals for Family Planning in Kenya’ shows the target as problematic and not sustainable. The report published in September shows there is huge regional contraceptive use disparities.

For example, Kirinyaga County which tops in use of contraceptives, has already achieved the two child per mother target with 76 per cent of women on a modern birth method.

However, in Marsabit, Wajir and Garrisa counties only two per cent of women are using contraceptives.

Secondly, the report indicated that the targeted use of contraceptives in Kenya is not sustainable because of high dependence on donor funding.

County governments have not allocated money to family planning.

The report attributes the lapses to lack of population policy experts at the Ministry of Health.

Consequently with the help of USAID Kenya engaged the services of Prof John Stover of the American policy research group Avenir Health.

Through remote engagement Stover helped Kenya revise the two-child target delaying this from 2030 to 2050.

This means Kenya now targets at having 66 per cent instead of 70 per cent of women using contraceptives by 2030. The 70 per cent target has been pushed to 2050.

The new commitments have been communicated to the FP2020, a grouping of 69 poor countries where their contraceptive needs are funded by donors and manufacturers.

A FP2020 market report published by the Clinton Health Accesses Initiative in October shows Kenya imported 54 million male and female condoms in 2016, besides other contraceptives, for an estimated 5.4 million women (See graphic).

These figures are for the public sector with volume of contraceptives in the private sector indicated to be insignificant.

Dominating suppliers to the FP2020 grouping are American and Indian manufacturers are: US - Merck, Pfizer, Mylan, Veru Health Care, India - Cipla, Cupid, SMB, Famy Care, Techno Drugs, Pregna, Germany - Bayer, Helm AG, China - CR Zizhu, Shanghai Dahua and Indonesia – PT Tunggal

To make Kenyans pay for reproductive health products the Ministry of Health plans to increase domestic funding for contraceptives.

The Ministry has committed to have all 47 counties allocate funds to contraceptives by 2020, while family planning will be fully covered by NHIF by end of 2018.


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