Kenya’s first ever family planning clinic was set up in 1962 by Family Health Options of Kenya (FHOK) at the time of its foundation. Over the decades, the organization has seen a substantial improvement in the nation’s sexual and reproductive health (SRH), but FHOK is the first to acknowledge there is still much to be done.
Today FHOK delivers a comprehensive range of SRH services. These include: contraception, emergency contraception, antenatal and post-natal services, and post-abortion care. Kenya has a significant HIV and AIDS prevalence rate, and much of FHOK’s work concentrates on the prevention of HIV, and the detection and management of the virus (via referrals to laboratories for CD4 counts and the provision of anteretrovirals).
FHOK has a substantial support base in the community, with thousands of volunteers giving their time to promote and deliver services and education on all aspects of SRH, including hundreds of members of the Youth Action Movement. The volunteers back a team of professional staff and health personnel. FHOK works through hundreds of service points, including permanent clinics, mobile units and youth centres. Add to that a programme of intense advocacy to place SRH at the centre of the government’s health and planning agenda, and it’s clear that FHOK’s work has wide personal and political impact.
FHOK is implementing a number of innovative projects, include an initiative that is forging links with micro-financial institutions to enable people living with HIV and AIDS to develop businesses and financial independence.
FHOK also incorporates a very educational component in its HIV and AIDS activity. It runs outreach programmes targeting sugar factories and agricultural farms in towns and districts in Mombasa. Peer educators present and facilitate lectures, group discussions, film shows, talks and theatre performances, and provide one-to-one counselling for young people on sexuality, relationships, prevention of unwanted pregnancy, contraceptives, drug abuse and unsafe abortion.
FHOK works with a large number of government agencies and non-governmental organizations, and it receives funding from UNFPA, the European Union, USAID, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Futures Group International, Plan International, IPPF’s Japan Trust Fund, the Netherlands Trust Fund,the Kenya Family Health Programme, SIDA, and JOICEP. It also works alongside civil society and private sector organizations including the Kenya Association for the Promotion of Adolescent Health (KAPAH), the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation and the Kenya Association of Professional Counsellors.