A mobile clinic for cervical cancer screening, which was one of the services offered during the week-long celebrations.
UNFPA in Kenya has launched a Family Planning programme focusing on youth within the Muslim communities in Malindi District, along the coastal strip of Kenya. The project will use innovative approaches to demystify myths and misconception around family planning and Islam.
The programme aims at enhancing the delivery of quality Adolescence Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH) information and services; increasing commitment by political, religious and community leaders to ASRH and increasing demand and utilization of Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) information and services by young people.
The project is being implemented by UNFPA and the Kenyan Government through the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, with support from the Packard Foundation.
The innovative programme was launched on World Population Day on 11 July 2012 in a ceremony attended by UNFPA staff, Government officials, community leaders and NGOs. The project, Catalyzing Action in Kenya: Working with Muslim faith leaders for Family Planning,seeks to increase uptake of family planning within the community.
Preparing for a procession to mark World Population Day celebrations in Malindi and the launch of the project to promote family planning to youths in Kenya.
The launch, which coincided with the World Population Day celebrations, included outreach services for three days to increase the uptake of reproductive health services. The event was attended by Dr. Alexander Ilyin, the UNFPA Deputy Representative and Dr. Anisa Omar, the Provincial Director, Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation. UNFPA Technical personnel present included Dr. Geoffrey Okumu, Batula Abdi and Kjetil Bordvik. The event held at the Malindi Stadium was presided over by the Malindi District Commissioner. Public mobilization events included a procession and a caravan organized by Radio Kaya, a local radio station.
Health care service providers at a Youth Friend Corner provide information on reproductive health services. The letter 'c' on their t-shirts stands for contraceptives.
The project will provide a platform for Muslim scholars to discuss and develop standard messages within the context of Islam. The programme comes in handy in the backdrop of huge gaps in the unmet need for family planning. Kenya has a maternal mortality rate (MMR) of 488 per 100,000 live births. The unmet need for FP is 24 per cent. The Coast province has a Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) of 30 per cent against the national CPR of 46 per cent. Coast province therefore has a high unmet need for family planning.
Through the programme, UNFPA seeks to show that even in the most difficult environments family planning outputs can be improved through research-informed and context-specific planned activities.
At the heart of this proposal is the commitment to furthering research and the constant production of strategic information. Insight will be gained into the social and cultural barriers for accessing family planning among young women in Muslim communities. Faith leaders within these communities will be engaged on a number of levels and will contribute to the active interpretation and teaching of Islamic texts in support of family planning.
~ Batula Abdi and Stephen Malai