Kenya’s Nyeri County Opens Youth-Friendly Service Clinic through Public-Private Partnerships

The Ministry of Health in Nyeri County has established a stand-alone youth-friendly services clinic to provide reproductive health and family planning information and services to young people, including students in institutions of higher learning. The clinic began offering services on February 12, 2018, and will be officially opened later this month.

Nyeri County, Kenya is home to one of the largest numbers of colleges and universities in the country and has a high population of young people aged between 18-24 years. Although family planning uptake in the county is 73%, lower uptake among youth remains a concern.[1] Most health facilities do not offer the full range of family planning and contraceptive methods, which limits client options. Negative provider attitude and limited youth-friendly services further limit the provision of services to young people.

Following advocacy efforts by Advance Family Planning local partner Jhpiego Kenya, the county director of health signed a commitment letter to operationalize a specialized youth facility, including assigning a nurse to support youth referred from schools, institutions of higher learning, and within the community. In May 2017 the Amani Foundation, associated with the county First Lady, received advocacy support and a grant from Jhpiego to carry out activities including family planning stakeholder meetings and budget advocacy.

To address the general negative attitude of higher education leadership towards youth access to reproductive health information and services, in December 2017, the Amani Foundation held a meeting with key stakeholders in higher education including deans of students from various colleges  in the county, representatives from private and public hospitals and religious organizations. Consensus was reached on the need to expand provision of  services to the young people. This culminated in commitment letters from the institutions’ leadership within the same month to refer students to the youth-friendly clinic for contraception information and services including post-partum family planning. The commitment letters further granted permission for on-campus orientation on reproductive health services for young people. These orientations began in January 2018  and are ongoing.

As a result of further advocacy efforts by the Amani Foundation, data documentation is currently being carried out through a standard Ministry of Health (MOH) tool. Currently, the clinic is attached to Nyeri Town Health Centre and plans are underway for the clinic to have its own facility code to enable disbursement of commodities and other operations with the facility. 

Both Nyeri MOH and partners working in the county, including Aphiplus Kamili, have helped equip the clinic.  Coca-Cola Company has also pledged  to equip the center with recreational facilities, including computers, to attract young people. Outspan Medical College, a private training institution, has also committed to deploy two counselors to the facility.

As a next step, Jhpiego will monitor the number of young people receiving services at the facility once it becomes fully operational at the end of April 2018.

[1] Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2014. Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, Ministry of Health/Kenya, National AIDS Control Council/Kenya, Kenya Medical Research Institute, National Council for Population and Development/Kenya, and ICF International.

Photo Courtesy of Jonathan Torgovnik/Reportage by Getty Images