Remove levies on reproductive health services, lobby tells Governor Sakaja

Johnson Sakaja

Nairobi County Governor Johnson Sakaja during a past media briefing at City Hall.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

A lobby group has faulted new levies for reproductive health services introduced by the Nairobi County government, saying they will lead to an increase in unplanned pregnancies.

The National Taxpayers Association said the move by Governor Johnson Sakaja’s administration to have women in Nairobi pay for services including insertion of implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs) in the county’s hospitals is counterproductive.

According to the new Nairobi County Finance Act, 2023, women will be required to pay for reproductive health services at Level 4 and Level 5 hospitals.

The new levies include Sh300 for the insertion of implants and IUDs at Level 4 hospitals and Sh500 for the same services at Level 5 facilities.

The new charges for family planning services are part of measures by City Hall aimed at increasing county revenue.

However, the development will mean that women from poor backgrounds will only be able to access family planning services for free at only Level 3 hospitals, consequently limiting their access to reproductive health services.

According to National Taxpayers Association chairperson Peter Kubebea, lack of access to family planning has been cited as a barrier to achieving equality for women and linked to an increase in unplanned pregnancies.

The United Nations Population Division estimates that every dollar spent on family planning saves between Sh300 ($2) and Sh900 ($6) in interventions aimed at achieving other development goals.

According to the Kenya Population Data Sheet 2011 by the Population Reference Bureau, poorest women report the highest unmet need for family planning programmes.

Kenya’s sustainable development goals aim to reduce the unmet need for family planning from the current 14 per cent to 10 per cent by 2030.

“Corruption in Kenya continues to contribute to inequality, particularly, within marginalised groups of women. Barriers to access to family planning increase the likelihood of unsafe abortions as well as unplanned pregnancies,” said Mr Kubebea.

“In addition, it increases inequality by women of different socioeconomic groups in access to education and career goals,” he added.