Faith – Family planning with youth

Faith is one of the 20 nurses working at the Waithaka Health Centre in Dagoretti, a neighbourhood in Nairobi with high rates of poverty. It is the only health centre with maternal facilities in an area of nearly 330,000 people. Every day 500 patients visit the centre, and about 8 to 10 women give birth daily there.

She manages the family planning services with women and youth of the area. She has noticed a change lately. “Something must be changing in the community, as more and more young people are coming to the family planning service,” she says.

That change probably happens thanks to the implementation of the sexual and reproductive health project in Dagoretti promoted by Amref Spain and Amref Kenya and funded by the Madrid City Council. The project aims to guarantee efficient health care and access to truthful information for the young people of the area.

In Kenya’s informal settlements, such as Dagoretti, adolescents experience sexual activity three years earlier than young people of other parts of the country do. They are exposed to unsafe sex because of the lack of adequate information and specialized health services to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Hence, the project seeks to increase young people’s access to sexual health services providing specific training to public health professionals, such as Faith.

The project also improves family planning services. Efficient family planning empowers young people, especially girls, who often take full responsibility for parenting. Faith works with the girls, but also seeks to involve their partners and male family members (fathers and grandfathers) so that family planning can be no longer a taboo and girls can choose the option they feel is best for them.

More and more young girls in the area are choosing family planning and focus on their career or education. Therefore, they can do long-term planning for they live and make decisions about their own bodies. They can decide on their future.