By Gatonye Gathura
Kenya has revised its two-child per woman policy it has been pursuing aggressively since 2012.
The country had targeted at having women give birth to only about two children by 2030 but now this has been delayed to 2050.
In 2012 Parliament passed the Sessional Paper No 3 which targeted at having women give birth to only about two children by 2030.
To achieve the two-child target, the policy had proposed to have 70 per cent of women using contraceptives by 2030.
Latest data from the Ministry of Health shows Kenya to have so far surpassed its short term contraceptive use targets reaching 58 per cent coverage this year ahead of the targeted 2020.
However a report by the ministry and USAID: ‘Setting New Goals for Family Planning in Kenya’ shows the targets as problematic and not sustainable.
One of the main problems, the report published in September says are huge regional contraceptive use disparities.
For example, Kirinyanga County which tops in use of contraceptives in Kenya, has already achieved the two child targets with 76 per cent of women on a modern birth method.
On the other extreme in Marsabit,Wajir and Garrisa counties just about two per cent of women are using any method of contraceptive.
Secondly, the report says the targeted use of contraceptives in Kenya is not sustainable because of high dependence on donor funding.
County governments, the report shows have not allocated any money to family planning since devolution.
The report also partially attributes these gross target lapses to a lack of population policy experts at the health ministry.
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 Prof Stover helped Kenya revise its two-child targets delaying this from 2030 to 2050.
The revised plan shows 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 sorted out by donors and manufacturers.
A FP2020 market report published by the Clinton Health Accesses Initiative in October shows for example Kenya to have imported 54 million male and female condoms in 2016.
During the same period the country had imported 2.4 million family planning pills, 742,864 implants, 95,000 implants and 37,500 IUDs for an estimated 5.4 million women using contraceptives.
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 as follows
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
Indonesia – PT Tunggal
To make Kenyans pay for own sexual activities and stop depending on donors the Ministry of Health has committed to FP2020 to increase domestic funding for contraceptives.
The Ministry of Health has committed to have all 47 counties allocate financing to contraceptives by 2020, while Kenya will have family planning fully covered by NHIF by end of 2018.