The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Kakamega Dads Queue Up for Vasectomy 'Cut'

THE demand for long term family planning methods by men in Western in on the increase, outstripping the available skills and facilities.

The Western province Reproductive Health co-ordinator Asumpta Matekwa yesterday said more men in the region are seeking to under go vasectomy as a way of planning their families but lack of skills has dimmed their aspirations. Mateka said the number of those who want to permanently stop giving birth has increased to 112 this year compared to 62 last year. "We are forced to turn some away because we don't have adequate manpower to carry out the operations given the number we are receiving," she said.

She said some men give up when they are asked to asked to return to the hospitals for the services. Matekwa was addressing a workshop on reproductive health at a Kakamega hotel yesterday. Results of Kenya Reproductive Health Baseline survey carried out in five major towns in Kenya were released at the function. "We are appealing to partners involved in family planning interventions to help the government in training specialists to carry out family planning related operations," she said.

Matekwa said many men and women in the region are seeking knowledge about long acting and permanent family planning methods, adding that there is need need to develop stronger linkages between public and private clinics on family planning. Western PC Samuel Kilele, who was the chief guest, said family planning has been identified as a key strategy in overcoming challenges facing the realisation of the Vision 2030 that seeks to make Kenya a middle level industrialised nation. "When mothers lack access to reproductive health and family planning information and services, the result is usually unplanned or unwanted pregnancies. Unplanned and unwanted pregnancies lead to high maternal mortality and unsafe abortion," he said. According to the Kenya Demographic Health Survey, it is estimated that maternal mortality is 488 out of 100, 000 births.

An estimated 3, 000 to 6, 000 Kenyan women die every year from pregnancy related complications. Meanwhile, the survey indicates that Kakamega has the highest fertility rates with women having an average of four children in their lifetime. It says most women are suspicious of contraceptives. For example, women from the town believe that a contraceptive injection could make a woman permanently infertile.

The survey also indicates that women in Kakamega are the most independent in decision making regarding the use of contraceptives. This, however, contradicts earlier perceptions that many women failed to use contraceptives because of opposition from their partners or for religious reasons. Many interviewees cited lack of or infrequent sexual activities as a major reason for low use of contraceptives.

The findings of the survey conducted between September and December 2010 in Kakamega, Nairobi, Machakos, Kisumu and Mombasa were released yesterday in Kakamega by the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation. The survey was carried out to establish demand and supply interventions that can facilitate more access to family planning services for urban populations.

The initiative also known as Tupange also released the results of the family planning services delivery point and the Urban Reproductive Health Supply Chain Survey. "Their most urgent need is to provide the correct information about specific methods of modern contraceptives," said Kilele. The function was attended by Western provincial Population co-ordinator Michael Oruru and Tupange project director Nelson Keyonzo.

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