PS Kenya’s Transformative Impact in Narok County

On June 6, 2024, Population Services Kenya (PS Kenya) leadership team, including three members of the Board, the Chief Executive  Officer: Dr. Margaret Njenga, Finance Director: Alex Misoi, and Social Enterprise Director: Stella Gituku, visited Narok County to observe firsthand the significant impact that PS Kenya’s reproductive health projects have had in the county. Through three major projects—DESIP, Accelerate, and A360—PS Kenya has been making strides in family planning, reducing teenage pregnancy, and empowering young girls.

The visit by PS Kenya’s leadership team was not only a chance to see the impact of the interventions, but also an opportunity to engage directly with the community. The team met with local health promoters, healthcare workers, and beneficiaries of the various projects, gathering insights into the challenges and successes experienced on the ground. The leadership team also met with the county health management team, where they discussed strategies and collaborated on ways to further improve health outcomes in the region. These interactions highlighted the critical role of community involvement and the importance of a holistic approach to health interventions. This reaffirmed PS Kenya’s commitment to enhancing health and wellbeing in Narok County.

According to the Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS) 2022, Narok was ranked fourth in the country, with a teenage pregnancy rate of 28% (a significant reduction from 40% in 2014). PS Kenya’s A360-Binti Shupavu project has played a crucial role in this improvement by providing a safe space for girls, educating them on their sexual reproductive health rights and empowering them with skills used to gain financial independence. During the visit, PS Kenya’s top leadership interacted with teenage girls enrolled in the Binti Shupavu project. These girls had completed a three-month hairdressing course and were presented with starter packs containing hair pieces, shampoos, and various hair products. This initiative aims to help the girls kickstart their careers, providing them with the tools they need to succeed, and avoid early pregnancies.

DESIP is a six-year (2019-2025) UKAID-funded programme, aims to increase access and uptake of family planning in Kenya, with a focus on women of reproductive age, adolescents, poor women, and people with disabilities. The KDHS 2022 survey showed that 52.2% of women in Narok are now using family planning methods, which was an increase from 38% in 2014.

“Narok had been grappling with extremely poor maternal and child health indicators,” said the County Health Director. “Before the implementation of the DESIP Programme, the county led the country in teenage pregnancies, with a staggering rate of 40%. The transformative impact of DESIP has been crucial in addressing these challenges and improving the health of our community.”

This improvement is a testament to the comprehensive efforts made by PS Kenya, including capacity building of healthcare workers through structured mentorship. The mentorship programs are designed to enhance the skills and knowledge of healthcare workers, ensuring they are proficient in the latest family planning techniques and practices. By pairing less experienced providers with seasoned mentors, PS Kenya facilitates a hands-on learning environment which promotes continuous professional development and fosters a culture of excellence in healthcare service delivery. This approach not only improves the competence and confidence of healthcare workers but also ensures that women and girls in Narok County receive the highest standard of care in family planning services.

The Accelerate project is dedicated to improving sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) by addressing and reducing gender-based violence (GBV) and harmful practices. According to KDHS 2022, in Narok County, a staggering 41% of women aged 15-49 had experienced physical violence since age 15, while 18% of women in the same age group had encountered sexual violence. The project targets these alarming statistics by implementing comprehensive interventions aimed at preventing GBV and providing support to survivors. Through educational programs, community outreaches, and training for healthcare providers, the project seeks to foster a safer environment for women and girls, ensuring they have the rights and resources to lead healthy and empowered lives.

The Accelerate project has also been instrumental in enhancing maternal health services in Narok County. The number of successful birth deliveries by skilled birth attendants increased to 70% in 2022, from 40.3% in 2014. Through these efforts, PS Kenya is ensuring that more women have access to safe and professional childbirth services.

PS Kenya’s visit to Narok County highlighted the significant progress in improving health outcomes and empowering the community. Through projects like DESIP, Accelerate and A360, PS Kenya is making a tangible difference in the lives of many, particularly young girls and women. The visit served as both an acknowledgment of the hard work accomplished and a commitment to continue supporting the health and wellbeing of the Narok County’s residents.

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