Most urban women believe that contraceptives lead to diseases like cancer and most can’t access the services.
According to two health reports released last week, every four out of five women surveyed believed that users of family planning end up with health problems like cancer, deformed babies and even infertility.
“For example, in Kakamega, 57 per cent of women surveyed believed that use of a contraceptive injection could make a woman permanently infertile,” the report reads.
Beliefs that associate use of contraceptives to promiscuity have also slowed their use across the country.
The 2010 Urban Reproductive Health Household Report and the 2010 Kenya Urban Household Service Delivery Report launched on Wednesday further noted that women living among urban poor communities have higher need for contraceptives.
This is compared to their wealthier counterparts in the same area.
The report sampled five urban areas for two years.
“Slowing population growth has the potential to reduce poverty, hunger and maternal deaths while contributing greatly to women’s empowerment, universal and primary schooling,” Nairobi Provincial Director of Public Health and Sanitation Sam Ochola said.
‘Tupange’, an initiative to increase contraceptive use by 20 per cent in the urban areas of Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa in the next five years was also launched.
The report captures some of the concerns of urbanisation including overstretched health service provision, poor access to reproductive health services and a high incidence of early sexual debut among the urban poor.
The report centred on the urban poor because they are rated as a vulnerable population.
Their access to reproductive health services thus needs to be improved.