The recently launched 6th Kenya Demographic Health Survey KDHS reveals that Kenyan families are fast shrinking as years go by.
According to the 2014 KDHS Survey Kenyan women have about four children on average as compared to 8 children in 1977 and about 5 children in 2003.
Kirinyaga reported having the lowest number as the average in the county was 2.3 children per woman whereas Wajir reported an average of 7.8.
The decline in fertility was attributed to the high absorption rate of contraceptive services.
Almost 6 in every 10 women married women are using a particular type of family planning method.
‘Women in rural areas have almost 1.5 children more on average than their counterparts in urban areas. Fertility decreases by education. Women with no education have an average of 6.5 children while women with secondary or higher education have an average of 3 children, ‘says National Council for Population and Development (NCPD) Technical Director George Kichamu.
‘We need to collectively ensure we keep our girls in school since we cannot undermine the value of education. We are beginning to see the benefits of the investment we made in free education in 2003,’ states Principal Secretary Ministry of Health Nicholas Muraguri.
Deputy Director for NCPD Peter Arisi added that a smaller population can improve efficiency in government planning and ensure proper development of housing, infrastructure and other social amenities.
Kenya has made advances towards child survival according to the report.
This has resulted in the decline of childhood deaths to 52 deaths per every 1,000 live births down from 74 deaths per 1,000 live births reported in the 2008-09 KDHS.
The maternal mortality ratio was 362 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births for the seven year period preceding the survey.
‘We have not reached our targets but we are in the right path,’ says Muraguri.
The Cabinet Secretary Ministry of devolution and Planning Mwangi Kiunjuri advised that the released results be used in evidence based planning, monitoring and planning of government projects to ensure wholesome prosperity.
‘The main objectives of the 2014 KDHS research was to provide up to date information for policy makers that would help in planning of population and health projects,’ advises Kiunjuri.
The KDHS took 6 months to collect information from households between the months of May and October 2014.
The survey collected data from more than 31,000 women aged 15-49 and more than 12,800 men aged 15-54.
The survey was conducted by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics in partnership with the Ministry of Health, the National Council of Population and Population and was funded by USAID amongst other donors.