Old and new ways: family planning in Kenya

AVSC News. 1989 Apr;27(1):2-3.


PIP: Kenya has the highest fertility rate in the world. The average woman has 8 children. Further, urban areas attract people from rural areas leaving fewer people to farm the finite land or raise cattle. Therefore a reduced need for children to partake in agricultural activities exists. Nevertheless many barriers to family planning continue in Kenya. Family planning services are scarce especially in rural areas. Husbands must agree to their wives undergoing voluntary sterilization by going to the clinic to sign a consent form. Children are highly valued. Succession of the generations is important. The higher a woman's fertility the more valuable she is to husband. The continuance of legal polygamy fosters competition among a man's wives to have many sons with the 1 having the most being his most prized wife. In spite of these obstacles, the president of Kenya promotes family planning through his speeches and requires the Ministry of Health (MOH) to provide family planning services at all government hospitals. Moreover, church hospitals also provide family planning services. Additionally, articles that cover teenage pregnancy and family planning programs appear in daily newspapers. The MOH and the National Council on Population and Development are organizing a network of government and nongovernment organizations that provide family planning services to the public. A sample of these organizations include the Family Planning Association of Kenya, an influential women's organization (Mandeleo ya Wanawake), and several church organizations. The Association for Voluntary Surgical Contraception's regional office has promoted minilaparotomies under local anesthesia since 1986. They are now used in maternal and child health programs in government hospitals, mission hospitals, and in several family planning clinics.

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • Africa, Eastern
  • Community Health Workers*
  • Contraception Behavior
  • Contraception*
  • Culture*
  • Demography
  • Developing Countries
  • Economics
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • Family Planning Policy*
  • Family Planning Services
  • Health Planning*
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Kenya
  • Laparotomy*
  • Marriage*
  • Organization and Administration
  • Population
  • Population Dynamics*
  • Program Development*
  • Public Policy
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sterilization, Reproductive*
  • Women's Rights*