Monthly Archives: March 2018


Category : Naya Blog

Women who do not want to become pregnant but do not use any contraception may resort to abortion whether it is legal or not. According to the ministry of health, there are about 500,000 abortions every year in Kenya and half of these abortions are usually unsafe. 21,000 women are admitted each year due to complications from unsafe abortion and out of those admitted 2,600 eventually die. Unsafe abortion accounts for 25% of maternal mortality in Kenya.

Behind nearly every abortion In Kenya is an unwanted pregnancy.  More than 40% of all pregnancies are unplanned or unintended. Approximately 60% of Kenya women have access to modern contraceptives.  Women with unmet need for family planning account for the high numbers of abortion.

Access to quality, affordable, voluntary, stigma free and wide range of family planning services can significantly reduce abortions. Research in various countries demonstrates that women with access to good and quality family planning services are more likely to use contraception, are less likely to have unintended pregnancies, and thus have fewer abortions. Where family planning services are introduced and promoted, abortion-related deaths decline as contraceptive use rises. There is need for both county and national governments to invest more in free and quality family planning

By Michael Okun Oliech


Category : Naya Blog

Kenya has made huge strides and progress when it comes to the health and education of women and girls. In spite of the tremendous progress made, adolescent and teenage girls still remain the most vulnerable group in this country. Teenage pregnancy is one of the main problems affecting the social, economic and political progress, empowerment, health and education of young women and girls of this country.
The teenage pregnancy and motherhood rate in Kenya stands at 20% (KDHS 2014). This implies that about 1 in every 5 teenage girls between the ages of 15-19 years, have either had a live birth or are pregnant with their first child. KDHS 2014 indicates that these rates have remained unchanged since 2008, implying  that many girls continue to drop out of school, continue to experience health related challenges including mortality and morbidity due to birth related complications and unsafe abortion and are in some instances forced into early marriages.
According to the ministry of education, 13,000 girls drop out of school annually due to teenage pregnancy.
Counties with the highest burden of Teenage Pregnancy and Motherhood above National average of 18% include Narok 40%, Homabay 33%, Migori 24%, Siaya 38%, Westpokot 29%, and Tanariver 28%.(KDHS 2014)
Poverty, harmful cultural practices such as child marriages, lack of education including education on sexual and reproductive health, sexual abuse or violence, barriers to access to sexual and reproductive health services and early sexual initiation are some of the main drivers of teenage pregnancy and motherhood in Kenya.
This cannot be the future that we prepare for our daughters. To address the challenge of teenage pregnancy and motherhood and its adverse consequences:
Both County and National governments and non-state actors, should integrate age appropriate comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education/ information into the school curriculum and other platforms such as health facilities, youth empowerment centres, churches and mosques.  Information is power. With the right information, young people are more likely to make informed choices concerning their sexual and reproductive health and rights hence reduce teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
The government should fully implement and enforce all relevant laws and policies that address the issue of teenage pregnancy. These laws and policies include: the constitution (article 43 [1]), the sexual offence act 2006, the children act 2011, the National Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health Policy (ASRH 2015), the National Reproductive Health Policy and the Education Sector Policy on HIV and AIDS (2013).
Since health is devolved, county governments should ensure that public health facilities are adolescent and youth friendly and are equipped with essential medical supplies including contraception free of charge at all times.
Campaigns and community dialogues to address harmful cultural practices such as child marriages, FGM and disco matangas, which drive teenage pregnancy, should be initiated by both county and national government.

Access to comprehensive abortion care will avert maternal deaths

Category : Naya Blog

Globally 220 million women would like to prevent or delay pregnancy but have no access to contraception. As a result 22 million unsafe abortions are estimated to take place annually resulting in the permanent injury of 5 million women and the death of approximately 48,000 women annually.

In Kenya unsafe abortion has long been recognized as a leading cause of death and injury to women. According to the ministry of health, unsafe abortion accounts for 25% of maternal deaths in Kenya.

Abortion need not to be unsafe. Safe abortion can and should be available and accessible to women to the full extent that the Kenyan law allows.

Article 26(4) of the 2010 Kenya constitution states that- Abortion is not permitted unless, in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is in danger, or if permitted by any other written law.

Even under circumstances where it is permitted to save the life or health of the mother or in the opinion of a trained health professional, abortion should always be done safely.

Access to comprehensive abortion care which comprises of induced safe abortion, post abortion care and contraceptives services could avert preventable maternal mortality and morbidity.

By Michael Okun Oliech

A woman has a right to choose to control her own body

Category : Naya Blog

A Pregnancy is one of the determinative aspects of a woman’s life.  Pregnancy disrupts a woman’s body, it disrupts her education, it disrupts her career, it disrupts her employment and disrupts her entire family life. Because of these impacts of pregnancy to a woman’s life, we should let women decide or choose whether to keep a pregnancy or terminate it.

Every human being has the right to own their bodies and no one has the right to dictate to you on what to do with your body. Women have a moral right to decide on what to do with their bodies and what stays inside their bodies. A fetus is part of the woman’s body and therefore a woman has the right to abort the fetus when she feels she is not ready to be a mother.

No woman can call herself free until when she is able to choose consciously without the influence of external factors on whether to be a mother or not.  If a woman has no power over when and how she has sex and when and how she bears children, she will not be able to realize and achieve her full rights to own her body including the right to decide whether or not to carry a fetus to birth.

Women need the right to choose and to make decisions about what they do to their bodies and deserve safe methods of doing the things they want to do. Equality is nonexistent if the body of a woman is left in the hands of a man or the government.

By Michael Okun Oliech

Kenya must address unmet need for family planning

Maternal health should be in Uhuru’s Four priority list

Category : Naya Blog

Kenya has made remarkable steps in improving the maternal health of its women and in reducing maternal mortality rates in the last decade. According to the Kenya demographic health survey 2014, Kenya’s maternal mortality stands at 362 deaths per 100,000 live births a decline from 520 deaths per 100,000 live births during 2008/2009. Six out of ten pregnant women can now receive skilled care during childbirth and over half of pregnant women do get postnatal care.

However, despite these remarkable gains made, many women continue to suffer or die from conditions which are preventable or treatable. In Kenya a woman dies after every two hours during pregnancy or childbirth (UNFPA Kenya). Access to maternal health care services is still a challenge across all levels of care in both urban and rural areas. We can continue to reduce chances of maternal deaths by addressing access to quality maternal and reproductive health care services and information.

It is clear that a lot still needs to be done by both county and national government to eliminate all preventable maternal deaths and improve health outcomes in this country in order to realize the goals of vision 2030 and the constitution (article 43-1a) which clearly articulates for the right for health including reproductive health. Improving coverage and access to quality maternal and reproductive health care services must be a priority for both county and national government.

Childbirth should be happy moment for families and communities not misery. No woman should die while giving life or birth. We must ensure all childbirth are safe. Good maternal and reproductive health is every woman’s right. Nothing should be as important to a nation than the health of its women because healthy women are the backbone of their families and communities.

By Michael Okun Oliech


Category : Naya Blog

The ministry of health decision to withdraw the standard guidelines for reducing morbidity and mortality for unsafe abortion in 2012 here in Kenya has undermined the constitutional right of women to receive the highest attainable standard of health care services reproductive health include. Safe abortion is a component of reproductive health and it is a human right.
By withdrawing these standard guidelines, the government has made thousands of women suffer and die needlessly from severe complications caused by unsafe abortion. Each day 7 women die needlessly due to unsafe abortion here in Kenya.  It has also left the health professionals in public hospitals afraid to offer comprehensive abortion care services to women seeking safe abortion services due to fear of arrest and this has forced these women to seek the services of quacks which has led them to face serious risks and damage to their health and wellbeing.
These injuries and deaths caused by unsafe abortion can be prevented and must be prevented. By restoring the standard guidelines for reducing morbidity and mortality for unsafe abortion and allowing women to access safe, legal, free and high quality comprehensive abortion services which comprises of post abortion care, induced abortion and contraceptive services, we could avert thousands of deaths and injuries caused by unsafe abortion here in Kenya.
Nothing should be as important to a nation than the health and rights of its women. Where women are healthy and their rights are provided for, not only their families but the entire nation flourishes. It is time the ministry of health took decisive actions to protect the health, rights and future of women before more women are harmed by its dangerous decisions and stands  against abortion.