Only 16% of respondents said they had discussed family planning with a health care provider

In Summary

  • The survey said that despite Kenya making progress in increasing access to family planning, more needs to be done
  • The survey was conducted between November and December 2021 in 11 counties


Six in every 10 adolescents had their first sexual encounter out of curiosity, a new study shows.

Many people knew that already — it wasn’t porn, or passion, coercion, peer pressure or alcohol. But those play a part in some cases.

The survey, conducted by Performance Monitoring for Action, was released on Thursday.

The survey was conducted between November and December 2021 in 11 counties of Nyamira, Nandi, Kericho, Nairobi, Kiambu, Kitui, Kakamega, Bungoma, Siaya, Kilifi and West Pokot.

The survey suggests 19 per cent engaged in sex due to peer pressure, while 15 per cent said they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The survey indicates there was an increase in family planning users from 46 per cent to 53 per cent and a corresponding decrease in non-use of FP from 54 per cent to 46 per cent between 2019 and 1921.

Data indicated four in 10 adolescents have ever had sex, while six in 10 had used a method to prevent pregnancy.

Only 16 per cent of adolescents reported having  discussed family planning with a healthcare provider or community health worker in the past year.

“Adolescents account for a very small proportion of people using a method and therefore we need to continue to advocate for adolescent-friendly services,” principal investigator Prof Peter Gichangi said.

The survey suggests 34 per cent of women aged 20 to 24 years and 32 per cent of women aged 25 to 49 reported they had discussions about  family planning.

The use of modern contraceptives has stagnated for all women at 46 per cent and married women at 61 per cent since 2020.

Forty-one per cent of the most recent births or current pregnancies were unintended, 34 per cent mistimed and seven per cent not wanted.

“We did the sub-analysis and what we found is that indeed the women with unintended or pregnancies which are not wanted at the time or not at all are actually married women,” Gichangi said.

So the question is whether they become pregnant in between when they are switching a method or they become pregnant when they are deciding to go for a method, he said.

He said their theory was there were more unintended pregnancies among sexually active women, it was very strange to find it in married women.

Stock out of the most popular contraceptive methods has increased in the past year, notably for implants.

Eight in 10 facilities attributed the stock outs to orders having been made but not received. Two in 10 facilities ran out of stocks due to unexpected increase in consumption.

The data further shows that one in four public facilities were not offering IUDs, while 41 per cent of those offering them did not have a trained provider and instruments/supplies needed for IUD or removal.

Implants and injectables account for 78 per cent of the methods used by married women, while implants, injectables, and condoms account for 83 per cent of the methods used by unmarried sexually active women.

The Head of Reproductive and Maternal Health at the Health Ministry Dr Stephen Kaliti said the ministry is working on policies that aim to protect adolescents from the harmful impact of the internet.

“We know we are in a digital era, information technology is very different from the way it was of the yesteryear. We do acknowledge as a platform it is both an opportunity but can also work against us if it not well moderated,” Kaliti said.

The data was collected from 9,565 households and from 9,489 females aged between 15 to 49 years and had a response rate of 98.55 per cent.

PMA uses mobile technology and female resident data collectors to support rapid-turnaround surveys to monitor key family planning and health indicators.

PMA Kenya is led by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with International Centre for Reproductive Health Kenya (ICRHK), National Council for Population and Development, and Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

The surveys are conducted in support by the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at The Johns Hopkins University and Jhpiego and funded is provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

(Edited by V. Graham)