Celebrate Solutions: Access to Contraceptive Implants Increased Nine-Fold in Some African Countries

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

Between 2008 and 2012, Marie Stopes International (MSI) provided 1.7 million contraceptive implants in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a Global Health: Science and Practice article published last month. The organization’s success is based on a mix of mobile outreach, social franchising, and clinic-based service provision.

The contraceptive implant is a long-acting, reversible birth control method that is inserted under the skin of the upper arm and offers a promising opportunity for addressing the high and growing unmet need for contraception in sub-Saharan Africa.

Over the five- year period, MSI increased voluntary access to implants in 15 sub-Saharan African countries from just over 80,000 implants in 2008 to over 754,000 implants in 2012. This marked a non-fold increase and brought the total number of implants delivered over the five years to 1.7 million.

During the same time period, MSI scaled up the provision of implants in Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, and Uganda, by near or over 1,000%. In Uganda, users of the implant grew from under 20,000 to more than 140,000 between 2006 and 2011. Additionally, the number of Ugandan women who chose to use family planning increased by 60% and the proportion of those women who chose implants increased from 2% to 10%. It is estimated that MSI reached 76% of these new users through their mobile outreach, social franchising, and clinic care programs. MSI’s approach of using more than one channel for service delivery expands the patient’s number of access points and increases the likelihood that family planning information will reach her and that she will be able to access her preferred method. High levels of client satisfaction were attained alongside this increase in service provision.

Importantly, the provision of contraceptive implants continued to grow significantly between 2011 and 2012 in all sub-Saharan African countries. This indicates that demand for and uptake of the method continues to rise, meaning service delivery of the implant, and other contraceptive methods, has the capacity to expand further.

See the full results of the study here.

Flickr photo via xof

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