The numbers are impressive: 5.3 million women of reproductive age were using modern contraceptives in 2017, according to the data Kenya submitted to Family Planning 2020. Most of them (60 per cent) got them from public health facilities.
However, there is still plenty to be done, as one in five sexually-active women of reproductive age who want to stop or delay childbearing are not using any method of contraception.
The most significant threat to access to contraceptives is inadequate funds for public health facilities to provide contraceptives.
Traditionally, family planning programmes have depended on donor funding, yet donor funds have been dwindling over the years. Funding has dropped from Sh700 million to Sh100 million in five years.
This drastic reduction has been attributed to several factors, among them the reclassification of Kenya as a lower-middle-income country. Shifting donor priorities and the reinstatement of the Mexico City policy by the Trump administration have also played a part.
With this in mind, Kenya needs to wean itself off donor funding and scale up domestic investments for family planning. And given that the responsibility of planning and executing family planning programmes in Kenya falls at the feet of county governments, the devolved units are crucial in enabling Kenyans access the right to plan their families using contraceptives.
County governments also bear the responsibility of investing in the necessary enablers to provide family planning services. Many county governments are currently developing multi-year family planning costed implementation plans to achieve their family planning goals. The plans address and budget for demand creation, service delivery and access, contraceptive security, policy and enabling environment, financing, stewardship, management and accountability.
Developing these plans enables county governments to think through their family planning programmes, prioritise family planning interventions, spell out key activities and outline a roadmap for implementation. It also helps forecast costs and make strategic allocation decisions, estimate impact of interventions, mobilise resources to meet gaps, and unify stakeholders around one focused family planning strategy.
Nandi county, for example, launched their 2017 to 2021 family planning costed implementation plan in July. The plan estimates that the county needs Sh1 billion over the next five years for the county’s family planning programme.
The funds are earmarked for things such as medical supplies, awareness campaigns and to pay the salaries of healthcare workers, among other costs.
County family planning costed implementation plans are effective policy documents, providing governments with the basis for making investments through the budget making process.
Through public participation, citizens can also use the plans to hold their elected leaders to account if sufficient investments are not made.
Several other counties, including Nakuru, Mombasa, Meru and Kilifi, have launched and are implementing their county family planning costed implementation plans. By doing so, they are doing their bit in ensuring Kenyan women who want to stop or delay childbearing can access modern contraceptive methods.
Ms Samba is the Kenya country director at Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung (DSW), a global development organization