Kenya: Drought ravages trees that provide herbal birth control

| May 23, 2016

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Drought is affecting family planning methods in northern Kenya, traditional healers warn.

Village herbal banks—local stores for herbal medicine—are a source of medicine in the region, and also dispense advice on fertility issues to local women. But the banks’ stocks of herbal medicines are dwindling because the prolonged drought has decimated trees used to produce herbal concoctions.

Qali Hassan is a traditional healer in Dadajibula village. She explained: “We expected the El Niño rains to change things so that we get flowers and leaves to produce some concoctions and monthly herbal pills, but we only experienced erratic showers and flash floods from the Ethiopian highlands which swept the border villages.”

She added that women are now resorting to birth spacing, and relying on prolonged breastfeeding and abstinence for family planning.

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Photo credit: Flickr/CGIAR