Reproductive Rights as Social Rights: Building a Post-Pandemic Reproductive Healthcare Service Recovery Agenda of Kenya

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2023-04-10

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Abstract

Reproductive health is crucial in female empowerment, as it enhances one’s physical and mental well-being. In Sub-Saharan Africa, national health infrastructure and institutional financing lag behind individuals’ need for access to reproductive healthcare services. The COVID-19 pandemic halted essential reproductive care delivery by limiting in-person visits and reducing workforce and funding. To meet population needs in post-pandemic life, the government needs to adjust a national rights-based framework for reproductive health to lessons from this global health crisis. This thesis aims to construct a post-pandemic reproductive healthcare service recovery framework grounded on theoretical knowledge of reproductive rights as ‘social rights’. This framework highlights the need for practical actions mentioned in the Kenyan government’s Reproductive Health Policy Strategy (2022-2032) and incorporates key informants’ lessons on reproductive justice during the COVID-19 pandemic. Interviews with 25 Kenyan reproductive health key informant organisations were conducted to collect data. Responses were initially coded using factors of the health policy framework, and any noteworthy codes were later defined during the analysis. Then, these codes were later redistributed by each factor of Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Legal and Environmental (PESTEL) analysis utilised in the national Reproductive Health Policy Strategy (2022-2032). Key findings are the critical impact of the government’s decisions to halt transmission being a major disruptor of RH service delivery and two distinct perspectives of returning to “normalcy” among service providers. Acknowledging the government’s role in achieving reproductive justice, this framework will be crucial in ascertaining necessary critical changes to move a step further for reproductive health equity in post-pandemic lives.

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Choi, Bentley (Hanul) (2023). Reproductive Rights as Social Rights: Building a Post-Pandemic Reproductive Healthcare Service Recovery Agenda of Kenya. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/27037.


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