NAIROBI — Myths around contraception that have swirled the corners of polite conversation for decades still trickle into today’s society, and the taboo in Kenya tied to talking about family planning and “women’s issues” means such questions remain strictly “girl talk” and rarely make their way to parents or health practitioners who can provide accurate information and rectify misconceptions.
The hush-hush nature of the topic means women lack reliable information about the affordability and availability of family planning services that is provided in government clinics and pharmacies, as per Kenya’s national adolescent and sexual reproductive health policy from 2015, which seeks to expand adolescents’ access to modern contraceptives and comprehensive sexual education. Lack of awareness means women often don’t take up a method at all, said Cynthia Kahumbura, marketing lead at Nivi — the organization behind AskNivi, a digital platform launched in Kenya in 2017 with funding support from MSD for Mothers.
Despite access to contraception being able to reduce maternal deaths by a third, 214 million women worldwide don’t have their contraceptive needs met — 21% of those women are living in sub-Saharan Africa.
Continue reading the full multimedia feature story to find out what innovative solutions are improving contraceptive uptake.
The Maternity Matters series is sponsored by MSD for Mothers, MSD’s $500 million initiative to help create a world where no woman has to die giving life. The content of this article is the responsibility of the author(s) and does not necessarily represent the official views of MSD. MSD for Mothers is an initiative of Merck & Co., Inc. Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A.