20 June 2012

Kenya: Family Planning - Women More Shy Than Men

Nairobi — A study by Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) has shown that men in urban areas are more willing to discuss family planning methods with their spouses than women.

KNBS Population and Social Statistics Senior Manager, Samuel Ogola said while 92 percent of men are open to talk to their wives about family planning, only 32 percent of women open up to their men.

"Only few women have sat down to tell their husbands we need to have this number of children and at this particular spacing. However 92 percent of men say they are ready to talk to their women, so we can see, men are not the barrier here," he said.

The 2010 Urban Reproductive Health Household Report contradicted common perceptions that have blamed men for being inactive in family planning.

The research further indicated that despite over 90 percent of people having knowledge on family planning methods, only 63 percent of women are using contraceptives.

Ogola said it was a concern that despite knowledge on family planning, there were 33 percent of women and 26 percent of men who do not want more children yet they are not making use of the family planning methods.

He said poor accessibility, lack of information and misconceptions about use of family planning are to be blamed for the low use.

Ogola said 63 percent of women believed contraceptives will reduce their sexual urge which leads them to shy away from using family planning methods.

Another 73 percent of women think contraceptives affect their health.

Ogola felt there are huge information gaps that require to be filled to increase the number of women using family planning methods.

He also said there were delays in getting services at public health centres which could also be a reason that keep women from going for family planning services.

Provincial Director of Public Health and Sanitation Dr Sam Ochola said there is a gap between actual and desired family size, "people are still having more children than they would like."

He said it was crucial for Kenya to ensure the concept of family planning sinks well as it embarks on attaining Vision 2030.

The study was carried out in September and December in 2010 in Machakos, Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Kakamega where about 13,000 respondents were interviewed.

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