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Donor funds drop hurts family planning services

Reproductive health experts have raised alarm over a drop in funds to support family planning (FP) services. Christine Ajulu, from the Health Rights Advocacy Forum (Haref), says there has been a push and pull, leading to disparities in funds allocation in the national budget that relies on donors for funding, with State investments dropping by 40 per cent.

Allocations by the government—the largest provider of FP services—indicate Sh50 million was set aside for FP in 2015/16 financial year, a drop from a high time high allocation of Sh675 million in 2012/13, while there was no allocation in the 2014/15 budget.

At risk of being affected because of lack of funds are efforts to fight HIV/Aids, a boom in population growth and a possible rise in the number of abortion cases, says advocacy manager at Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevolkerung, Lucia Laboso.

Population Reference Bureau analysis shows every dollar invested yields savings in other development areas. This ranges from $2 (Sh200) in Ethiopia to more than $6 (Sh600) in Guetamala and Bangladesh and up to $9 (Sh900) in Bolivia. “Donor funding has been on the decline. Their priorities keep on changing.

The responsibility now is shifting to national governments,” Laboso told a media forum in Nairobi. “We need to invest enough to ensure gains made are not lost. Counties are yet to prioritise and fund initiatives at the grassroots level,” she added.

Laboso says the current budget allocation is far below what states agreed on in the Abuja Declaration to allocate 15 per cent of national budgets to health.

According to available data, Makueni tops counties that have invested in health budgets at Sh20 million, with the majority of regional governments failing to indicate how much is set aside for family planning services. Laboso says as a devolved function, health needs funding in counties but the leadership does not regard FP as a priority.

“The argument at the county level is that FP is not an illness to be funded. It’s not prioritised. Even if the National government decentralised the the funds, there is high chance counties will not invest in the commodities or services,” she said.

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