For Immediate Release
December 5, 2022
A report by Performance Monitoring for Action (PMA) indicates that between 2014 and 2021, the use of modern contraceptives in West Pokot County increased by 17%. HealthRight has been providing maternal and reproductive health services in West Pokot, a rural county in Kenya’s North Rift region, since 2006. In 2018, HealthRight was chosen as an implementing partner for the Delivering Sustainable and Equitable Increases in Family Planning (DESIP) program, due to our long track record in the region and dedicated staff with over 10 years tenure at the time. Funded by the U.K.’s FCDO Foreign Common Wealth and Development Office (FCDO), the project aims to increase demand for sexual and reproductive health services in the community, including contraceptives, and strengthen health systems at the facility level, while also increasing advocacy at the county level.
PMA’s survey, which sampled 794 women in the region, also revealed that 30 women out of every 100 in the county use modern contraception. Like all HealthRight projects, our approach for DESIP focused on local empowerment and partnership, including with the county government, the Ministry of Health, social behavior change agents, and community partners. Our staff train community health workers on modern contraceptives such as IUDs and injections.
We primarily target poor rural women, people with disabilities (PWDs), and adolescents – marginalized groups who suffered disproportionately from lack of access to family planning methods. As part of our health systems strengthening efforts, we also equipped county health facilities with critical medical resources such as examination couches, autoclaves, examination lamps, and more.
However, the majority of women in the county did not seek family planning services at a facility because they lacked the funds, time, or permission from their husband or family. In response, HealthRight trained 20 community-based distributors (CBDs) to deliver contraceptives directly to communities, the first such service in West Pokot. The CBDs provided short-acting contraceptives on site and referred clients to health facilities for long acting contraceptives. This service made contraceptives much more accessible to women in the county, especially those with limited ability to visit health facilities.
The DESIP program demonstrates the importance of local collaboration to improve health outcomes, and HealthRight is proud to be one of the partners whose work led to an incredible increase in family planning utilization in West Pokot.