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Nairobi women are increasingly opting for contraceptive implants as their preferred form of contraception, a new report has revealed. According to the data which was collected from city health facilities and released by the county reproductive health coordinator, Angela Njiru, demand for implants rose 52 percent last year compared to 2011, up from about 10,000 in 2011 to 30,000 in 2012.

Although the majority of people seeking contraceptives from government clinics in Nairobi still chose the condom or a series of injections, the report shows a remarkable shift towards the use of implants considering that in 2008 they were among the most unpopular family planning options in Kenya with only 1 percent of women using implants countrywide.


Contraceptive implants are small rods about the size of a matchstick which are put under the skin in the underside of your arm (in most cases you can feel them under the skin). They slowly release a hormone called progestogen into the bloodstream at a slow, steady rate. The progestogen works mainly by stopping ovulation (the release of the egg from the ovary). It also thickens the mucus which forms a mucous plug in the cervix. This stops sperm getting through to the womb (uterus) to fertilize an egg. It also makes the lining of the uterus thinner. This means that if an egg were to fertilize, it would not be likely to be able to attach to the uterus.


Implants are more long lasting than other forms of contraception, between three and five years for each implant, and are reported to be more than 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy.

“Many women may not have time to go for injections every three months, but one implant can keep them for five years. It’s also easier for a woman to revert back to fertility quickly if they want children”, said Njiru.


The study also revealed that more women were seeking contraception, a good sign that women are understanding the importance of family planning. It’s reported that last year 238,645 city residents sought family planning services from the county health facilities up from 191,523 in 2011 even though most clients opted for condoms which they combine with other methods of contraceptives.

Maternal health has been an area of concern to the Kenyan government and even though contraceptives are supposed to be free in government health facilities, access to contraception in the country is still elusive to 24 percent of fertile women.


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