A study on reproductive health has revealed that more than 75 per cent of women in Kisumu have had sex by the age of 17. According to the survey, which was conducted by the African Population and Health Research Center, John Hopkins University, together with Tupange, the Kenyan Reproductive Health Initiative, poor girls in Kisumu have their first intercourse earlier than in other towns, leading to a higher number of teenage pregnancies.
The same study showed that men in Kisumu marry later than those in other towns, which means there are more eligible bachelors in Kisumu compared to any other town in Kenya.
KISUMU MEN – NO STRINGS ATTACHED?
If you compare the two findings, it could probably mean that men in Kisumu prefer to get the cookie with no strings attached (not terminology used in the study!), otherwise how do you explain the seeming discrepancy behind the findings that girls in Kisumu top the list as far as early sex and teenage pregnancies are concerned yet the men in Kisumu head the rankings for taking their time before marriage?
The study shows that despite marrying later in life, men in Kisumu still end up begetting as many children or more than men in other towns. This is not taking into account the number of children that some of these men might have sired before marriage, so the number of children per male could be much higher.
THE FERTILE WOMEN OF KAKAMEGA
Meanwhile, the study found, women in Kakamega are more likely to conceive compared to women in other parts of the country, bearing an average of four children per woman.
It is perhaps the fertility of Kakamega’s women that has resulted in the men of the town opting to take charge of family planning by undergoing a vasectomy. According to Asumpta Matekwa, the Western Province Reproductive Health Coordinator, the number of men seeking to undergo the surgical contraception has increased to 112 this year from 62 last year.
There are a lot of men in Kakamega so the fact that 50 more of them than last year have opted for the snip will not alter matters significantly but hopefully it shows that men, at least in Kakamega, are no longer so ignorant about family planning and are willing to rise to the occasion and do their part.
MEN AND FAMILY PLANNING
The women of Kenya, especially in the rural areas, have always cited resistance by their men as to the choice of contraceptives to use, if at all, when giving reasons for their abortive family planning but if the findings of this study are anything to go by we can say that men are slowly getting involved in planning their families, and a good thing too says the Forum.
Family planning has been identified as a key strategy in overcoming challenges facing the realisation of Vision 2030. The Kenya Forum hopes that the government plays its part in ensuring that country-wide not just women have access to information and services on reproductive health and family planning, important though that is, but also the male of the species.