On this World Population Day, the theme is Family Planning: empowering people, developing nations.
Family Planning does not just benefit an individual; it improves lives and consequently has a positive effect on the economic growth of a country.
There is a lot of evidence to show that if you educate a woman you educate the family, but how is that possible if you are always pregnant or breast-feeding? In the UK we know that the more education a woman has the later she has her first pregnancy and the more likely she is to space her children. It is exactly the same in the developing world.
In Kenya it is not uncommon for girls as young as 14 or 15 to become pregnant. In fact 1 in 5 girls between 15-19 will already be mothers. In rural areas the figures are much higher and for most young mothers their future is being written for them. With no skills these young women are likely to face a hard life and their daughters are more likely to repeat the cycle. Family planning is therefore the best way out of this predicament. The Kenyan Government is aware that family planning advice needs to be taken to a wider audience and they are working with the Ministry of Education to see if a programme can be devised to take into schools for boys as well as girls.
There are many myths around contraception that need to be debunked. In one study in Kenya it was reported by one respondent that the pill ‘can accumulate into a life threatening mass in the stomach, can cause blood flow out of the mouth and nose and can cause delivery of children with two heads and no skin’. A lot of education needs to happen………
Fortunately in Buburi the local community has access to family planning services at the clinic.
‘When the family is small, whatever little they have they are able to share’ Dr Philip Njuguna