Unintended pregnancy is a major reproductive health concern in Kenya; according to the 2003 Kenya Demographic Health Survey, nearly half of all pregnancies in the last five years were unintended. With support from the William and Flora Hewlett foundation, PSI/Kenya is implementing a three-year program to increase awareness and use of emergency contraception (EC) to prevent pregnancy following unprotected intercourse.
The program consists of the awareness-raising campaign “Tulia” (“Relax”, in Kiswahili) to inform women about the availability and use of EC to prevent pregnancy. Health service providers, with assistance from other health-based NGOs, received training as well as nationally-developed guidelines for EC administration. Interventions with pharmacies aimed to increase pharmacist knowledge of EC provision, provide resources for women who have questions about EC, and link users to broader family planning services.
Research conducted by PSI/Kenya demonstrates drastic increases in EC awareness and between 2007 and 2009, though use remained low. Nearly all EC distribution takes place in the private sector, indicating the need to direct potential users to government clinics. Additionally, 93% of EC pills are distributed to sexual assault victims, despite efforts to integrate EC into general reproductive health and family planning programs. However, with low-cost basic training for pharmacists to link users to reproductive health care and public sector advocacy to maintain supplies, EC use and administration can be extended throughout Kenya.
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Country: Africa - Eastern, Kenya
Health Areas: Reproductive Health