Women’s access to life-saving contraception increases in Kenya
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Beatrice Shibunga gave birth to her first child in Nairobi’s slums at the age of 13. By the time she reached 30, she had eight children.
“After giving birth, I continued every year. I didn’t have a break and I didn’t know about family planning,” she said. “Three of them died. There was no food, no school fees.”
She only found out about contraceptives when she took her eighth child for a check-up at the local clinic. She started using three-month injectable contraceptives, preventing further pregnancy and enabling her to provide better care for her surviving children.
A community health worker taught her the basics of parenting, nutrition and hygiene.
“She changed my life,” Shibunga said. “I felt like somebody who can be seen by other people [without feeling ashamed].”
Inspired by the help she received, Shibunga has also become a community health worker, going from door-to-door in Nairobi’s Korogocho slum, telling women about family planning and handing out condoms and pills.
There are 222 million women in developing countries like Shibunga — who wish to prevent or delay childbirth but who are not using modern contraceptives, according to the World Health Organization.
- Health Care