Four years after the Lamu County government launched a 136 million shillings family planning project, the use of contraceptive services is still low.
The Family Planning Costed Implementation Plan (PF CIP) was launched in 2018.
The program, which was to last three years, aimed to accelerate the uptake of modern contraceptives among women from 43% at the time to at least 46% by 2020.
Although the goal has been met, with family planning use now at 49%, it remains below the national rate of 58.1%.
In an interview with Nation.Africa, health official Anne Gathoni cited several factors explaining the low use, including socio-cultural beliefs, myths about contraceptives and religious teachings that generally influence perceptions about modern family planning. .
Gathoni, however, encouraged residents to plan their families so they can comfortably meet their needs.
She noted that women and girls who use modern methods of contraception are in a better position to ensure the safety, education and well-being of their families.
She also called on men to be at the forefront of family planning, arguing that it will be difficult for a county to grow if it does not control its population growth.
“Family planning coverage in Lamu is 49% for women of reproductive age. Uptake is still low and that is because many men here have turned a deaf ear to family planning and have left to their wives,” Ms Gathoni said.
“Men always think that only women should be involved in family planning. I advise them to stand with their wives in advocating for family planning because it benefits everyone.”
In interviews with Nation.Africa, several women in remote areas of Lamu, including Boni Forest and in villages close to the Somali border, said county officials had not equipped health centers so that they can provide family planning services.
Ms Fatma Hamisi from Milimani village said the local dispensary was closed nearly eight years ago and access to even normal medical services was a nightmare.
“We don’t have a hospital or a simple dispensary in our area, but they expect us to undertake family planning. How can this happen? on FP. We depend on God’s grace here. We don’t have a family plan,” Ms. Hamisi said.
Khadija Sharif from Ishakani village said women often give birth at home due to poor sanitation in the area.
“We don’t have maternal health services here. We don’t go to clinics because the dispensaries are far away and unequipped. We are used to home births. This clearly tells you that we don’t have no family planning knowledge here,” mentioned.
Pandaguo village elder Sharuti Ali called for the adoption of appropriate mechanisms to promote voluntary family planning.