Population Dynamics & Reproductive Health

Family Planning, Fertility and Population Growth

Progress towards goals 4 (reducing child mortality) and 5 (improving maternal health) of the millennium development goals (MDGs) has been generally slow in sub-Saharan Africa.  To meet these and other MDGs, sub-Saharan Africa’s best hope remains its vast and untapped Human Capital. Yet, about 4 million infants and children continue to die annually from preventable causes, whilst unchecked unintended pregnancy increasingly contributes to unsafe abortion and consequently poor maternal health outcomes. Emerging evidence asserts that the disparity in key family planning and sexual reproductive health indicators is widening, making it clear that our Human Capital has been and is under threat. We need to focus our efforts toward providing robust scientific evidence to guide crucial policy generation and implementation to curb the needless hemorrhage. In doing this we would not only have a fighting chance at meeting the MDGs but we would also have saved and positively impacted countless lives.

Featured Project

Maternal near-miss (MNM) due to unsafe abortion in Kenya

Program: Population Dynamics & Reproductive Health

The World Health Organization (WHO, 2009) defines a maternal near-miss (MNM) as “a woman who nearly died, but survived a complication that occurred during pregnancy, childbirth or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy.’’ Data on MNMs can be used to support improvements in maternal care and to improve understanding of the problems and obstacles related to women’s access and use of quality maternal care. The main goal of the study is to quantify the proportion of near misses that is due to unsafe abortion complications in Kenya.  The proposed study will also qualitatively explore the social and economic implications of maternal near misses among women who experience them. We will also investigate local women’s access and sources of medication abortion drugs, which have been reported as responsible for the reduction in the incidence of severe complications of unsafe abortion in Kenya.

This study will support efforts aimed at preventing morbidity and mortality from unsafe abortion and promoting the security of women’s access to quality sexual and reproductive health services. Nationally, family planning and women reproductive health are supported in Kenya’s new constitution and Vision 2030 plans, among other key policy documents.

The Kenya government has also declared its commitments to the FP2020 goal of ensuring women and girls’ rights and improved access to safe family planning and reproductive health services. To achieve these objectives the Kenyan government has pledged to invest further in family planning and contraception, improve the country’s contraceptive supply chain, and eliminate contraceptive stock-outs. Evidence from the MNM study will support efforts to realize the country’s aspirations and goals and inform public investments in women’s reproductive health.

Project Period: 

December 2015 – November 2017


Project Funders

  • hewlet



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