Zim doing well in modern contraceptive use

ZIMBABWE has been ranked in the top three Sub-Saharan countries with over 60 percent use of modern contraceptives.

Zimbabwe and Eswatini which are at 66 per cent and Lesotho at 65 per cent.

Kenya is ranked the fourth country with over 60 per cent use of modern contraceptives (mCPR) in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Africa’s population is growing rapidly. According to UN estimates, the number of people in the continent is expected to double by 2050 — making it increasingly difficult to provide jobs for future generations.

But there are also positive trends. More and more women are using modern contraceptives. According to the latest Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) report, the number has increased by 66% since 2012 — from 40 million to more than 66 million women and girls.

When governments, UN agencies and private foundations launched the initiative eight years ago, they set an ambitious goal: to get 120 million more people in the world’s 69 lowest-income countries to use modern contraceptives by 2020.

Speaking during the webinar last week, Ministry of Health Maternal Health Officer Mrs Chipo Chimamise-Dembedza said there was a steady uptake of contraceptives among young people. Between Q1 2020 and Q2 2021, the number of young people who had access to contraception.

“The orange line here shows the number of young people accessing contraceptives. We can note that even though the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were in force, this aspect of programming was affected very little. We think this is due to the availability of community based distributors in the communities so that even though there were restrictions on movements, on gatherings, young people could still access contraceptives from these community based distributors,” she said.

As the world marks Contraceptive Day, Amoth said the Ministry of Health is aiming at expanding sustainable access to contraceptives in the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.

“Kenya has made great progress in improving the uptake of contraceptives among women of reproductive age,” Amoth said.

“In 2020, Kenya attained a contraceptive uptake of 61 per cent while fertility dropped by 0.5 to 3.4 births per woman between 2014 and 2020.”

Amoth spoke on Wednesday during the live Twitter chat dubbed #AskThe DG.

“In 2021, it is estimated that use of contraception will avert more than 2.4 million unintended pregnancies and 6,100 preventable maternal deaths,” he said.

“In Kenya, contraceptives use among women of reproductive health has been on an upward trajectory from 37.2 per cent in 2017/18 to 44 per cent in 2019/2020. This rate has declined to 29.6 per cent in 2020/21, due to disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

In August, a study by the University of Nairobi showed that the number of Kenyan women using contraceptives secretly has nearly doubled in the last five years.

Some of them are married women but not ready to have children, while others have disagreed with their partners on contraception use or on the number of children.

But by 2018, the number had jumped to 12.2 per cent but is highest among uneducated women at 22.3 per cent.

“The prevalence was high among older, uneducated, poorest, and rural women, and among women who neither had children nor wanted for more children,” says Catherine Akoth from UoN’s Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases.

Akoth and her two colleagues, James Odhiambo and Samwel Gatimu, say as much as secretive use of contraception is better than no contraception at all, it can lead to violence if partners discover it.

“Covert contraceptive use may expose women to gender-based violence if discovered and could result in contraceptive discontinuation or change to a less preferred method hence eroding the gains in increasing the contraceptive prevalence rate,” they say.

With additional reportage from The Star

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