Family Planning and Reproductive Health Messages Transform the Lives of Thousands of Kenyan Women
Joyce Kebchirchir was a single mother of one at the age of 20 and even though she had no plans of having a second child in the near future, she had no idea how she was going to manage that. “I only knew about condoms and pills,” says Joyce. “This was risky because sometimes you can forget to take the pills or use condoms which increase the chances getting unwanted pregnancy. I was always scared.”
Like many other Kenyan women, Joyce had no idea that other long-term methods of family planning were available in health centers. She didn’t know that she could access family planning education through counseling and also receive a contraceptive of choice for free at her nearest health center.
“I was so surprised when I heard through the radio that I can visit any government health clinic for family planning services,” she recounts. “I was even more surprised when they said that regardless of the method you choose, it was all for free and you did not have to spend any money. I didn’t believe it. I just kept on wondering why USAID was mentioned in the radio announcement.” Joyce did not visit the health clinic immediately as she didn’t think she had heard the message right despite the fact that she heard the message at least twice a day for several weeks.
It wasn’t until Joyce visited Musoriot Rural Health Center to have her child immunized that she saw posters and drawings on the walls informing of the family planning services available at the clinic. “I still wasn’t convinced until I sat in front of the nurse who was very knowledgeable about the family planning methods,” she recalls. “They were all very kind to me and explained all the methods. I chose Jardell which is a five-year method of family planning. I am very happy with this method, thanks to that radio message I heard and thanks to these wall paintings and posters.”
Joyce is one of the many thousands of girls whose lives have been changed through family planning media messages and other outreach activities. USAID continues to support the GOK in high level advocacy on population and development in a renewed wake up call to rejuvenate the family planning program. Advocacy and behavior change communication activities support the National Reproductive Health Communication Strategy with media messages for both family planning and reproductive health programs with a focus on youth, urban poor and HIV positive populations.
Story by Joan Lewa