Jhpiego, a global health nonprofit affiliated with Johns Hopkins University, has announced a $22.9 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to lead the foundation's five-year Kenya Urban Reproductive Health Initiative.
As the leader of the initiative, Jhpiego will work with a team of partner organizations to improve the quality and availability of family planning services for poor individuals in targeted urban centers in Kenya, with the goal of increasing contraceptive use by more than 20 percent. A key feature of the plan will be offering women family planning options when they visit a clinic to be tested for HIV or have a child immunized — an integrated, single-visit approach that is not customary in Kenya. In collaboration with the Kenyan government, Jhpiego and its partners will work to mobilize communities, leverage efforts by the private sector to implement and scale-up programs, and build the capacity of Kenyan organizations to ensure that programs continue beyond the initiative's timeframe.
Kenya experiences high rates of maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases, especially in poor urban areas like Nairobi's Korogocho and Viwandani neighborhoods. Only 39 percent of poor Kenyans living in urban settings use contraceptives, largely because they are unaware of family planning options, do not have access to services, and are concerned about the quality of many of those services. Over the past five years, Jhpiego has been working to train community health workers to deliver family planning help and HIV/AIDS treatment in Korogocho and Viwandan and has contributed to increases of between 50 percent and 300 percent in the use of various family planning methods in the region.
The Kenya Urban Reproductive Health Initiative is part of the Gates Foundation's multi-country effort to meet Millennium Development Goal 5 to reduce maternal mortality by increasing women's access to and use of reproductive health services.