Source: NATION

The focus on containing the spread of coronavirus has hit crucial mother-to-child health care services, including family planning and immunisation, research has shown.

Half of the pregnancies in the country are unintended. The survey warned that if the shift does not change and interventions on maternal and child care remain unavailable, successes realised are likely to be reversed.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has warned of disruption in the supply of contraceptives.

As the World Contraceptive Day is marked today, data from the Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020 (PMA2020) survey revealed that six out of 10 methods were out of stock in most facilities while 11 per cent of the methods were not available.

The PMA 2019 data showed that 42 per cent of pregnancy are unintended.

The data survey added that three out of 10 pregnant women wanted to have the pregnancy later while 12 per cent never wanted more children.

Younger women aged 15-19 have a high risk of unintended pregnancies at 82 per cent, compared to 45 to 49-year-olds at 36 per cent.

Six out of 10 teenagers got pregnant yet they did not want to have a child at that time while 20 did not want the pregnancy at all.

In the 20 to 24 age group, some 53 per cent had unintended pregnancies, 44 per cent wanted later but got pregnant while eight did not want a baby but found themselves pregnant.

Unintended pregnancies

PMA project principal investigator Peter Gichangi said despite progress made by Kenya in enabling women access contraception, the country still has more work to reduce unintended pregnancies.

“The pregnancies are an indication of women not being able to meet their needs for contraception. It means their ability to achieve fertility intentions is limited,” Prof Gichangi said.

“The pregnancies can be contributed to non-use or inappropriate use of contraceptives, method failure, discontinuation, myths and misconceptions, quality of services and counselling gaps.”

Kenya attained the contraceptives prevalence of 61 per cent last year, surpassing the 2020 target of 58 per cent, according to the Ministry of Health.

This led to revision of the rate to 66 per cent by 2030 and 70 by 2050.

The Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) is the percentage of women of reproductive age (15-49 years) using modern family planning methods.

“Countries with a high CPR like Kenya should double their efforts in order to maintain the progress made and ensure women who start using contraceptives do not fall off the ladder,” Prof Gichangi said.

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