I have contributed to research on family planning among women of reproductive age in one of Kenya’s largest informal settlements known as Mathare. The gaps identified from the findings have helped inform evidence based advocacy interventions employed in 34 villages in Mathare and Mukuru informal settlements within Nairobi County where I primarily work. This includes identifying and building the capacity of healthcare providers operating within these environs on provision of family planning services, organized through trainings over 170 community health workers, young people and community leaders to form community advocacy groups that promote uptake of family planning services through awareness creation, and strengthening their linkage with the trained healthcare providers for referral.
My passion for family planning begun while working with the urban poor where I interacted with people directly affected by needless preventable deaths of many women and girls from unsafe abortions often times, due to unintended pregnancies. Through the Reproductive Health and Rights Alliance I got an opportunity to make a difference by advocating for reproductive health and rights (RHR) including family planning and I have never looked back.
Addressing myths and misconceptions around family planning methods has been a big challenge to uptake of family planning services among the urban poor. This has reduced after the establishment of community advocacy groups tasked with providing RH information and encouraging use of family planning services. There was also a challenge of access to healthcare providers within the settlements who could provide these services, this was addressed through identifying and training healthcare providers
Low resource settings in Kenya still have a high unmet need for contraception that can be addressed through creating a supportive law and policy environment as well as increasing financial support for family planning commodities and services specifically targeting the urban poor.
Reach 90% of Nairobi’s urban poor population by scaling up the community-led reproductive health advocacy model from 34 villages to the 181 villages in informal settlements in Nairobi County. Increased advocacy will lead to more awareness and information for the urban poor to make informed choices on their reproductive health and rights including on family planning