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Why I became a family planning crusader

Mike Ratemo @peopledailyKE

When asked about his initial reluctance to accept contraceptives, Justus Munyao’s wide grin fades as he recalls how the subject was a constant cause of friction in his marriage.

His wife, Edna Kwamboka’s attempts to convince Munyao, a father of two to give family planning a chance fell on deaf ears. “I was hesitant due to many innuendos I heard from my peers about the use of contraceptives. We always engaged in fiery confrontations on the subject that nearly ended in blows and our constant feuding subsequently led to our estrangement,” he says.

Munyao is just one of the many people who despised the thought of family planning, considered a taboo in many communities.

After a while, he did cede ground and agreed to see a Tupange trained community health volunteer who explained the benefits of family planning and he supported Kwamboka’s decision to get a three-year implant.

Today, Munyao is a Tupange member and a staunch crusader for family planning. He says he has never regretted his decision. Together with his wife, Munyao has become an ardent advocate for family planning. “Our union is stronger.

Actually, I am the one reaping the fruits of my wife’s endeavours as she can now manage to supplement the family income,” says Munyao, a trader at Gikomba. His wife is a hotelier.The couple from Biafra in Nairobi’s Eastleigh slum asserts that matters could have turned worse without contraceptives.

Kwamboka said: “Our two boys are only spaced out by months. Another one or two more births could have been disastrous under the conditions we were living in. In that scenario we could not achieve our objective to feed, clothe, and educate our children.”

However, Munyao opines that it’s not always a walk in the park for a couple who decide to embrace family planning as there are obstacles along the way that can threaten to jeopardise relations. This is an observation that is aptly captured by Moses Labu and Everlyne Chepkemoi, a couple living in Kangemi who opened about their experience.

Labu, 51, a career policeman and an avid Tupange advocacy member, said: “Chepkemoi was having many side-effects from contraceptives. When she used pills, she developed high blood pressure while injections led to a lot of bleeding, which meant we could go several days without getting intimate.”

The couple with six children -three sets of twins – embraced permanent vasectomy. Labu said although there were lingering doubts about it, he was confident enough to go through after talking to Tupange.

He now encourages other men to consider vasectomy and brings Chepkemoi along with him so she can tell them the vasectomy hasn’t changed their sex life, contrary to popular belief.

According to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, lack of comprehensive sexuality education and universal access to contraception information is the biggest hindrance to family planning.

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