Kenya: Mothers in Slums Embrace Family Planning
BY JOHN MUCHANGI
In yesterday’s Star, we published an interview with Melinda Gates, the co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, about her family planning projects in Kenya. Today, read about how previously unreached women in the slums are embracing modern family planning methods.
Hundreds of slum women are now flocking health facilities to receive long-acting contraception.
We find Evelyn Irusa in the midst of market women hawking sukuma wiki at a crowded corner of Huruma estate.
They have learnt to ignore a stench wafting from a sewer that forever flows down the hundreds of rusty tin-shacks that together form Mathare, Nairobi’s second biggest slum.
“In this city, people must live,” she chuckles. “I have four children. She (points to a colleague) has six. My customers also have families that must eat.”
She reports to work at 5pm when Huruma and Mathare residents return home. She carefully cuts a pale, flappy leaf of Sukuma Wiki vegetable into hundreds of slices that she then compresses into a small, transparent plastic bag.
“Wasalimie watoto (say hallo to your children),” she pushes it into the hands of a female customer, and receives five shillings.
In the midst of this brisk hawking of food, Irusa has received life-changing ‘wisdom’ from colleagues about a match-stick sized implant that prevents pregnancy for five years.
“Here we sharpen each other,” she points to her colleagues. “Some of our customers have three, four or five children, yet they all buy sukuma wiki worth five shillings. But nowadays we tell them there’s a solution. We women talk.”
The 37-year-old gave birth to her first child at 15, and now she has three others. “I’ve been taking injections, that’s easy to forget and you get another child.”
To read the full article, please click here: http://allafrica.com/stories/201311190899.html?viewall=1
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