The percentage of women of reproductive age receiving family planning commodities in Nyeri County reduced by 18 per cent from 2015 to 2021, the Nyeri mid-term Reproductive Health and Family Planning Strategy 2015-2025 has revealed.
According to the review which aims at taking stock of the achievements and making recommendations on the actions that the county Health department should take in order to meet reproductive health strategy by 2025, the number of women seeking family planning services declined from 24,029 in 2015 to 19,067 in 2021.The review says that decline has was occasioned by erratic supply of family planning commodities in the county.
“The drop from 73 per cent in 2015 to 55 per cent in 2021 is facility-based performance thus the need for population based performance assessment to cater for those accessing services from chemists and private facilities who do not report through Kenya Health Information System (KHIS),” reads the review in part.
The data also shows that 38 per cent of those under contraception in 2021 preferred family planning injections while 21.5 per cent were on combined oral contraceptive pills. KHIS also listed Implant insertions as the third most popular contraceptive with 13.2 per cent of the women of reproductive age opting for the method.
The review also shows that male involvement in reproductive health in Nyeri was still a challenge. In 2021, the review says, the number of men using the male condom as a contraceptive declined from 18.6 per cent in 2015 to 2.5 per cent in 2021. While voluntary surgical contraception among women increased to 0.4 per cent in 2021, the review shows that men in Nyeri were still reluctant about taking up vasectomy as a family planning method.
Nyeri Health CEC, Dr Robert Thuo noted that despite having a robust community health system, stigma associated with infertility, family planning and diseases of the reproductive tract were the biggest impediment preventing men from playing an active role in family planning. He said that the department would incorporate outreach services to increase male involvement in reproductive health.
“Community attitudes and stigma have affected health seeking behaviour. The review recommends the strengthening of community health structures for reproductive health services including peer support groups and improved male involvement,” said Thuo.
On the other hand, the review revealed an improvement in the overall maternal health services among childbearing women in the county. The review shows that the percentage of pregnant women attending at least four antenatal clinics has increased 1.3 per cent to 62.3 in 2021.Similarly, the percentage of deliveries conducted by skilled attendance in the county had also increased from 88 per cent in 2015 to 94.8 in 2021.
The report further shows that the overall number of maternal deaths occurring in health facilities had also reduced by half over the 5 years of review. This is in addition to a reduction in maternal mortality ratio from 110 in 2015 to 39.8 in 2021.
Thuo noted that the county had recorded improved maternal and child health indicators despite being the only county that has reported a double digit maternal mortality ratio of 67 per 100,000 births.
“We believe that no mother should die while giving birth in Nyeri County. The report notes that infrastructure provision for comprehensive maternal services as well as the capacity for maternal referral services has improved,” said Thuo.
The mid-term report which was compiled by Pathways Policy Institute, Population Action International, Japanese Organisation for International Cooperation and the KHIS also shows that the number of health care providers with disability friendly skills had increased.
While in 2015 there were only two health care providers who could cater to people with special needs, the report shows that the county had 40 healthcare providers with disability friendly skills.
At the same time the number of facilities offering quality integrated services for people living with disability had shot up to 130 in 2021. Thuo also said that in the next phase of the implementation of the 10 years reproductive health plan, the department was working to increase availability of reproductive health services to people living with disability.
“The department is on course to implement the reproductive health plan and thus achieve its Universal Health Coverage goals. The report recommends an increase in reproductive health service availability specifically to increase the number of healthcare providers able to provide services in sign language,” he said.