UK Funding Provides 450,000 Contraceptive Doses to Enhance Access to Family Planning in Kenya



By Dennis Gichuiri

Efforts to improve access to family planning for women in Kenya received a significant boost today with the delivery of 450,000 doses of Subcutaneous Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (DMPA-SC), a self-administered contraceptive that simplifies and broadens the availability of family planning options.

These contraceptives, procured by UNFPA with funding of more than 57 million Kenyan Shillings (£348,000) from the UK Government, will be distributed by the Ministry of Health to health facilities nationwide. DMPA-SC is an easily administered injectable contraceptive suitable for trained individuals, including community health workers and women themselves, thereby expanding access to family planning beyond traditional healthcare settings.

Upon receiving the supplies at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) warehouse in Nairobi, Acting Director General of Health, Dr. Patrick Amoth, remarked:

“The introduction of DMPA-SC self-injection into Kenya’s reproductive health services is part of broader initiatives aimed at enhancing service delivery. These efforts will support the Government’s agenda to increase family planning access in alignment with global trends towards self-care interventions.”

Kenya has made notable progress in promoting family planning access, with the modern contraceptive prevalence rate rising to 57% in 2022 from 53% in 2014. During this period, the unmet need for family planning decreased from 18% to 14%. Despite these advancements, obstacles such as high costs and supply uncertainties hinder efforts to meet the demand for family planning.

Eduarda Mendonca-Gray, Deputy Development Director at the British High Commission, emphasized the UK’s commitment to sexual and reproductive health and rights, stating:

“Since 2010, we have been supporting family planning initiatives in Kenya, recognizing the evidence that access to and availability of family planning resources alleviate poverty, promote prosperity, and uphold the dignity of women. We will continue collaborating with the Health Ministry to empower women to plan their lives and futures, and to make informed choices regarding childbirth.”

The UK government has been a longstanding partner of UNFPA and the Government of Kenya in endeavors to ensure Kenyan women and girls have access to sexual and reproductive health information and services. Anders Thomsen, UNFPA Representative, highlighted the importance of funding for family planning programs, stating:

“UK government funding for family planning programs is crucial, as it ensures that women can access quality family planning methods regardless of their location. This significantly contributes to our commitment to reducing preventable maternal deaths.”

In 2023, UNFPA collaborated with the Ministry of Health to expand access to family planning commodities and services in Kenya, distributing a range of family planning methods to over 6,000 health facilities across 47 counties. These resources served over 2.5 million women of reproductive age. The delivery of DMPA-SC contraceptives today will be facilitated through KEMSA, benefiting over 400,000 women of reproductive age and preventing an estimated 42,750 unintended pregnancies and 122 maternal deaths.

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