Prioritizing Youth Family Planning in Data Collection and Public Health Emergency Responses in Kenya

Young people face greater challenges than adults do in accessing and using contraceptive services that they trust and that are affordable, accessible, and non-judgmental. Understanding youth family planning needs can help civil society organizations and government agencies provide family planning services that are specialized for young people. PRB partnered with Organization of African Youth Kenya (OAY Kenya) to create a suite of materials highlighting the need for the Ministry of Health (MOH) and county leaders to prioritize youth family planning needs in data collection and during public health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Family planning data in general is poorly integrated in the Kenya Health Information System, especially compared to HIV and immunization data, and these gaps are even more pronounced for youth family planning data. A rapid assessment found that not all health facilities have a system to collect disaggregated data on service utilization and that the Kenya Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health plus Nutrition Investment Framework does not explicitly outline specific adolescent and youth indicators. PRB and OAY Kenya created a fact sheet targeting MOH and county leaders to explain why decisionmakers need disaggregated data to provide age-appropriate family planning services and information. The fact sheet encourages leaders to develop specific youth indicators and improve existing data collection and reporting systems.

Kenya moved quickly to respond to the virus that causes COVID-19 by developing national guidelines in April 2020 for continuing reproductive, maternal, and newborn health and family planning care and services during the pandemic. But the current policy guidance does not specifically address the needs of youth ages 15 to 24. As of November 2020, more than one in three young men and women ages 15 to 24 in Nairobi County who were using contraception at the time had trouble accessing it during the COVID-19 pandemic.1 Between January and March 2021, health facilities in Nairobi and Kisumu counties experienced an apparent reduction in contraceptive service use by youth ages 18 to 24.2 In response, PRB and OAY Kenya produced a policy brief outlining the impacts of COVID-19 on the Kenya health system’s ability to provide contraceptive services to young people. The policy brief calls on the MOH and county leaders to create specific guidance on how to continue providing age-appropriate, safe family planning information and services for young people ages 15 to 24 during a public health emergency.



1 Performance Monitoring for Action (PMA) Agile and International Centre For Reproductive Health-Kenya (ICRHK), Gender & COVID-19: Access to Health and Contraception (Baltimore, MD: Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2020).

2 Organization of African Youth (OAY) Kenya, Assessment of RMNCAH+N and Meaningful Adolescent and Youth Engagement Global, National and County Policies and Their Effect on Access to AY Services and Information in Nairobi and Kisumu Counties (draft report), 2021.