Kenya has made progress in the uptake of modern birth control measures, but the number of teenage maternal deaths paints a grim picture — a reason for deeper focus on the youth to improve their awareness of all available contraceptives and enable them to make informed choices on their sexual and reproductive health.
Hundreds of thousands of young people fall pregnant each year but maternal deaths claim hundreds of them, partly due to lack of information on preventive measures such as use of contraceptives.
Statistics by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for instance showed that some 378,397 adolescent girls aged between 10 and 19 years became pregnant between July 2016 and June 2017.
But more disturbing is that in 2017 alone there were 827 maternal deaths registered among young mothers aged between 10 to 19 years, an increase from 772 registered in 2016. Many of these deaths could have been prevented through the use of contraception that prevent unwanted pregnancies minimising the chances of procuring often unsafe abortions.
Kenya has shown overall progress in the use of modern birth control methods from the prevalence rate of 36.5 per cent in 2012 to 44.8 per cent in 2017. Contraceptives use is even higher among married women at a prevalence rate of 61 per cent women in 2017 from 49.7 per cent in 2012.
About 5,322,000 women used modern methods of contraception in 2017, according to Family Planning 2020 report, jointly authored by UKAid, Bill & Melida Gates Foundation, USAID and the UNFPA.
According to the report, 1,472,000 unintended pregnancies were prevented in 2017 as a result of contraceptive use, while 438,000 unsafe abortions and 5,000 maternal deaths were averted in the same year.
Kenya Action For Acceleration report on modern contraceptive mix has shown that significant number of women have adopted modern contraceptives, indicating that injection accounts for 47.9 per cent, implants (18.2 per cent), pills (14.1 per cent), male condoms (7.9 per cent), Intrauterine Device (IUD) contraception (5.9 per cent) and female sterilisation (5.6 per cent).
However, the Family Planning 2020 report, which supports the rights of women and girls to decide -freely and for themselves-whether, when, and how many children they want to have, indicate that 17.2 per cent of women in Kenya have unmet need in the modern method of contraception. This is a slight improvement from 17.7 per cent in 2016.
Implants remain the fastest growing birth control method in Kenya, especially driven by the low cost supplies in public dispensaries and hospitals.
The use of birth control implants is highest among poor and uneducated women who are taking advantage of free facilities in public health centres, a new recent survey the Performance Monitoring and Accountability (PMA 2020) revealed.
About 53.3 per cent of women using implants in Kenya are uneducated while 41 per cent fall within the lowest wealth quantile. “A higher proportion of implant users compared to all modern contraceptive users are married, live in rural areas, are less educated, poor, obtain their services from public health facilities and receive their method for free,” the PMA 2020 report showed.
The uptake of implants, however, remains low among educated working-class women who mainly visited private hospitals where the cost of such services are still prohibitive and are not covered by their various health insurance packages. The report states that among all the modern contraceptive methods, implants account for 33.4 per cent
It costs an average of Sh7,000- Sh15,000 to obtain implant services in private hospitals — a possible reason as to why their popularity is low among the middle-class women visiting private hospitals.
The use of contraceptives by women is highest in Central Kenya, the PMA 2020 report further showed with an estimated 73 per cent of women in the region using birth control devices and drugs. The region is followed by Eastern at 70 per cent and Nairobi with 63 per cent, Rift Valley at 53 per cent and Coast at 44 per cent while it is lowest among women in North Eastern at three per cent.
In terms of individual counties, Kirinyaga tops countrywide at 81 per cent against a national average of 58 per cent. Others with high rates are Makueni (80 per cent), Meru (78 per cent), Machakos (76 per cent), Tharaka Nithi (74 per cent) and Kiambu (74 per cent).
There is markedly low use of contraceptives in pastoral counties with Mandera and Wajir both registering a usage of just two per cent. Others are Garissa (6 per cent), Turkana (10 per cent), Marsabit (12 per cent) and West Pokot (14 per cent).
World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021
World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.
“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.
He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.
The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.
People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.
For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.
Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.
“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.
Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.
“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”
According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.
Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans
The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.
Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.
Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.
Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options.
This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.
The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.
The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.
The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).
The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.
The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour; Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).
The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.
Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”
He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.