The government has initiated a number of interventions to address an expected population boom in the country following increased teenage pregnancies in recent reports.
Some of the strategies include policy changes, projects, laws and plans, meant to respond to fears the country could be staring at a possible rise in the country’s population.
The 2019 census shows that Kenya’s population stands at 52.57 million. This is likely to shoot up with the recent teenage pregnancies occasioned by the long school holidays following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in March last year.
A report produced by the National Council for Population and Development (NCPD) with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), The State of Kenya Population 2021, showed that 90,873 adolescents were found to be pregnant between January and March 2021.
Out of this number, it was found that 7, 754 children below the age of 15, were pregnant. NCPD Director General Dr Mohamed Sheikh says the situation calls for urgent concerted efforts to reverse the trend.
“Besides the other interventions that have been put in place to respond to the causes and effects of teenage pregnancy, the wider goal is to have a comprehensive budget, generated locally, towards family planning,” he said, underlining a government commitment to have a fully funded domestic kitty to manage the country’s population.
Sheikh said the government’s target is to generate through domestic sources Sh2.1 billion by 2023 with priority specific goals to manage the anticipated population explosion, which recently has been aided by the Covid-19 pandemic.
For a long time, he noted, Kenya has heavily relied on donor funding to address her family planning programmes which include procurement of commodities such as modern contraceptives and various outreach plans in hard-to-reach areas.
“But now we are developing new commitments to ensure that by 2023 we have full domestic financing for Family Planning.
And we have done well in terms of access to FP, having many of our women on modern contraception.
“At the NCPD for instance, we are lobbying government agencies, educating and advising the National Treasury and Ministry of Health, to prioritise FP on the basis that by itself, it’s a development issue,” he said.