Expanding contraceptive options for women in Kenya
through community health workers

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Ann Morris

Ann Morris

Ann is a journalist who has worked for daily newspapers in North Carolina and Georgia for three decades, most recently as managing editor of the (Greensboro, N.C.) News & Record. In recent years she worked as a church outreach director, developing partnerships and leading teams to serve in Kenya, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti and Mexico. Her project combines her passion for advocacy, activism and philanthropy.

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The Issue

In Kenya, women in rural and underserved areas have little access to modern contraception and are thus unable to plan their families and control their destiny.

While Kenya as a whole has made great strides in family planning, modern contraception is not available in many areas. Commodity shortages, transportation challenges and limitations on providers result in women not having access to reliable contraception. Misinformation about some methods is widespread and health providers often lack the training and resources to provide quality, community-based care.

Pilot And Learn

The project aims to increase demand for and access to modern contraception methods, training community health workers to offer a range of options, including implants.

The pilot is based in Kilifi County, where only one in three women has access to modern contraception, far below the national average. Working closely with county health officials and identifying areas of greatest need, the project will reach women through mobile service delivery, community outreach and existing clinics. A cadre of community health workers will be trained and certified in a variety of methods, with implants being the notable addition.

Leverage And Scale

Evidence from the project will be used to advocate for policy changes to move Kenya toward granting community health workers more leeway in providing contraceptive options.

The project seeks to demonstrate a new model for involving community health workers in providing modern contraception, specifically training them to insert and remove implants and successfully address adverse effects through treatment or referral. The model has potential to bring this highly effective, safe and long-acting form of contraception to thousands of women throughout Kenya and beyond.