Young unmarried women between 18 to 25 years are the highest users of family planning methods in Kenya, a health official has said.

Ann Maina from St Patrick Healthcare Centre, under Population Services Kenya, said many of them misuse the emergency pill.

“Most of these girls use the emergency pill, which is not considered as a long-term method of family planning,” she said.

Unknown to these girls the emergency pill should only be taken thrice in a year because it has long-term effects that may be experienced over 10 years.

She said the effects may either be on the girl or on the child she will conceive after years of family planning. Maina advised girls to use the emergency pill as prescribed because it has hormonal effects.

According to new data from the Ministry of Health, the use of contraceptives has increased by six per cent from 53 per cent in 2014 to 59 per cent in 2017.

This means Kenya has surpassed its 2020 target of 58 per cent.

Maina said the recommended family planning method for young girls is IUD (intrauterine device) as it doesn’t interfere with their hormonal status.

She told the girls who are uncomfortable with the coil to use condoms.


Maina said family planning methods can either have mild, strong or no side effects, but users should be on the lookout. Some of the common side effects that can cause an alarm are heavy bleeding, high blood pressure and drastic weight gain.

Users are advised to go for regular medical check-ups to ensure the method of contraception they picked does not harm their body.

A common factor that young girls consider before using contraceptives is the fear of unwanted pregnancy.

Maina said men should play a major role in family planning as much as women.

They need to take their wives to the clinic so as to discuss the best family planning method as a couple.

She said parents have a key role to play in educating their children on the use of contraceptives. Maina said they cannot afford to bury their heads because young people engage in early sexual relations and may end up misusing contraceptives. She said this will help check adolescent pregnancies and abortions.

According to a report by the International Open Journal of Educational Research of 2013, teenagers who fall pregnant choose to abort  keep secret the fact that they’re sexually active and due to concerns on how the newborn baby would affect their future plans.

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