Demograpidc, socio-economic and cultural factors which influence implementation of family planning programme in Kenya: a study of the City of Nairobi and Kericho District
Githinji, Sophia Wanjiku
MetadataShow full item record
Kenya has since 1967, been having one of the most well funded Family Planning Programmes in sub-Saharan Africa. Ninety seven percent (97%) of married women know of family planning methods but only 39% of them are using a method (Kenya Demographic and Health Survey, 1998). The large existing gap between knowledge and use is a clear indication that there are, some unknown forces that influence decisions on fertility and use of family planning services in Kenya. The major research hypothesis of this study is that the socio-economic and cultural factors that influence fertility are little known and therefore ignored in the design and implementation of the family planning programmes. This study examines the socio-economic and cultural factors that influence fertility and family planning in five ethnic groups in the city of Nairobi and Kericho District of Kenya. These groups are the Luo, Luhya, Kisii, Kalenjin and Kikuyu. These groups were selected to capture people from different cultural backgrounds. The city of Nairobi was chosen to represent the urban areas and Kericho District to represent the rural areas. The study also evaluates the Family Planning Programme of Kenya with a view to determining the extent to which it takes into consideration the socio-economic and cultural factors. Primary data were collected through the administration of a questionnaire designed to investigate the socio-economic and cultural factors that have a bearing on fertility. The questionnaire was administered to some two hundred women of childbearing age selected from the five ethnic groups in Nairobi and Kericho. Secondary data from demographic and health surveys, census reports and population research journals were reviewed and used to evaluate the Family Planning Programme of Kenya. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and stepwise regression analysis were applied to determine the factors, which had a greater explanatory power on fertility. The analysis showed that the influence of socio-economic and cultural factors on fertility was greater in Nairobi than in Kericho District. Age at first marriage, age at first birth and level of education were found to be considerably higher in Nairobi and consequently, their influence on fertility was stronger in the region. Forty six percent of women interviewed in Kericho District got married in the 15 to 19 year age group, compared to only 15 % in Nairobi. Fifty two percent of women interviewed in Nairobi had completed secondary education compared to 24 % in Kericho District. Forty five percent of women in Kericho District relied on their children to do house work. In Nairobi, forty one percent of the women had their children study after schoo1. These women valued the quality of education for their children and had smaller families in order to provide them with the desired education. Women in Kericho District, on the other hand, valued the work done by children and so they had larger families. Duration of breast-feeding, preference of male children and attitude towards methods of family planning were some of the cultural factors found to influence fertility in both Nairobi and Kericho District. Fifty two percent of women in Kericho breast-fed their children for more than eighteen months. Only thirty nine percent of women in Nairobi breast-fed for more than twelve months. Employment is a factor contributing to the short breast-feeding duration among the urban women. In all the five ethnic groups investigated, women who did not have male children were looked down upon. In Nairobi, fifty six percent of the women interviewed reported having experienced side effects as a result of using the modem methods of family planning. In Kericho, the proportion was seventy percent. Forty four percent of urban and thirty nine percent of rural women considered traditional methods still effective. The Family Planning Programme of Kenya was found to be supply oriented rather than demand driven. Contraceptives are provided for free in the public sector and at subsidized rates in the private sector. The programme has not taken into consideration the socio-economic and cultural factors that connect the well being of people to fertility limitation. The study recommends the review of the Family Planning Programme to accommodate these issues and help people to achieve their childbearing expectations.