Double X has another of those sobering stories about life for African women: Kenyan Women Go on the Pill — Behind Their Husband’s Back.
Writer Jo Plazza interviewed more than 100 women and 25 medical professionals about contraception and maternal health.
The trend Plazza uncovered is that more Kenyan women are secretly postponing pregnancy, in view of an obsessive cultural demand that she make more babies. According to UNICEF, one in 39 Kenyan women will die in childbirth in the course of their lives. This is just one reason why Kenyan women don’t want to be pregnant.
Dr. Stephen Mwange of the Kinango District Hospital works as OB-GYN, general practitioner, oncologist, and pediatrician in the understaffed medical center outside of Mombasa. He says that in the past year, the number of women who have come to him to ask about contraception, without their husband’s knowledge, has increased from around 100 a year to 100 a month. In the past, he said, a wife was afraid to use contraception unless her mwenye, or husband, agreed. But now “what they are starting to realize is that what the mwenye doesn’t know cannot hurt him,” Dr. Mwange explained.