Kenya men shun vasectomy as Covid 19 bites

Only 334 men in Kenya had vasectomy in 2020, the lowest number in five years.

The number of teenage pregnancies also dropped significantly last year contrary to popular narratives.

During the last five years, new annual vasectomy clients ranged from 919 in 2016 to 658 in 2019 dropping to the lowest last year.

The Kenya Economic Survey 2021 released on Thursday, however shows a drop in all permanent family planning methods.

The number of women undergoing tubal legation also dropped dramatically to 4,435 from an average of 10,000 in previous four years.

This drop is attributed to a decline in the utilization of health services due to the Covid 19 outbreak. The effects of a drop in contraceptive use may not be known until some years down the line.

But the data showed a slight decline in the number of registered births in 2020 but an increase in hospital deliveries.

As is usual there were more boys than girls born in each of the five years with four more males than females born for every 100 births in 2020.

But this was of little reprieve for men as more males than women died in 2020. The data shows for every 100 deaths 30 more men died than women.

The highest number of male deaths occurred when men were much younger than women at ages 55-74 compared to more women dying after age 75.

“In 2020, male deaths accounted for 56.6 per cent of total deaths with sex ratio recorded at 130 male deaths in 100 female deaths,” says the survey.

This was the highest gender death ratio difference in the last five years though it is not explained.

“The sex ratio at death has exhibited an upward trend over the last five years, rising to 130 in 2020,” says the survey.

With just about 1,756 Covid 19 related deaths by the end of 2020, the pandemic did not have a major impact on overall deaths last year.

In 2020, a total of 184,185 deaths were registered compared to 191,495 deaths in 2019 with more than half of the reported deaths occurring in a health facility.

Despite the number of hospital visits dropping by about a third, due to Covid 19 related issues, diseases of the respiratory system and malaria continued to be the most reported cases in 2020.

Pneumonia accounted for the highest number of admissions at 12.9 per cent followed by malaria at 10.0 per cent in 2020.

The survey also seems to discount the widely spread view that Covid 19 related school closure and lockdowns led to a pandemic of teen pregnancies.

“The number of adolescents presenting with pregnancy at first ANC visit declined nationally by 16.3 per cent to 332,208 in 2020. Majority of these,94.7 per cent were those aged 15 – 19 years.”

During the five-year review period, the highest number of pregnancies, 427,297 (see chart) in this group was recorded in 2018.

By Gatonye Gathura


About Gatonye Gathura 142 Articles
Science Journalist

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