UN says private sector key to boost access to contraceptives in Kenya

Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-18 19:43:24|Editor: Shi Yinglun
Video PlayerClose

NAIROBI, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- Kenya should leverage on private capital to promote access to family planning commodities and advance the reproductive health rights of women and girls, a senior UN official said on Wednesday.

Ademola Olajide, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) country representative in Kenya said that targeted investments by the private sector will complement the government's efforts to achieve universal access to contraceptives.

"There are myriad opportunities for the private sector as Kenya explores innovative ways to ensure women and girls of child bearing age have access to safe family planning options," said Olajide.

He spoke at a consultative forum in Nairobi organized by UNFPA and Kenya's investors' lobby to discuss the role of industry in promotion of reproductive health rights for women and girls.

The forum that was attended by policy makers, business leaders and gender rights advocates agreed that innovative financing options are key to expand access to contraceptives.

Olajide said that Kenya required a robust policy and regulatory framework to facilitate private sector investments in production and supply of family planning devices.

"The government should tap into private sector resources to produce birth control commodities and reduce over-reliance on expensive imports," said Olajide.

He said that the industry's strengths in diverse areas like human resources, procurement and organized supply chains can be harnessed by State agencies to ensure contraceptives are available in marginalized regions.

"Besides ensuring there is commodities' security in the country, the private sector can leverage on innovations to promote dissemination of information on reproductive health targeting vulnerable women and girls," said Olajide.

He said that public private sector dialogue is key to address bottlenecks that have hampered the uptake of contraceptives that include cultural myths, poverty, illiteracy and broken health infrastructure.

Lucille Aveva, a member of Kenya Private Sector Alliance said that industry has rallied behind efforts to promote reproductive health of women and girls given the immense social and economic benefits to be accrued.