Matern Child Health J. 2016 Mar 8. [Epub ahead of print]

The impact of balanced counseling on contraceptive method choice and determinants of long acting and reversible contraceptive continuation in Nepal

Sapkota S, Rajbhandary R and Lohani S

Abstract

Introduction: Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) reduce rates of unintended pregnancies and repeat abortion. Uptake and continuation rates of LARCs are very low in Nepal, despite free provision from most health facilities. We sought to establish the effectiveness of a new approach to LARC promotion in Nepal.

Methods: We examined change in contraceptive method mix in Nepal using service data resulting from introduction of a balanced counseling (BC) approach to family planning (FP). All staff located at nine randomly selected FP sites were trained and began applying BC in April and May 2014. Women who accepted LARCs from a participating facility were re-contacted at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months. We estimated the LARC continuation rate and assessed determinants of continuation using descriptive analysis, Kaplan-Meier survival curves and univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazard analysis.

Results: A total of 5744 women received BC between April and July 2014. 1580 women (27.5 %) took up LARCs, raising its contribution to contraceptive method mix at [organization] to 40%, significantly higher than the 15% recorded in 2013. 913 women were followed-up, and the LARC continuation rate at 12 months was 82%. Women's reported satisfaction with LARC [AHR 0.23; 95 % CI 0.14-0.39, p = 0.000] was the single strongest determinant of LARC continuation after adjusting for all background characteristics.

Discussion: The findings suggest BC is an effective approach for increasing LARC uptake in Nepal. The rate of LARC continuation and its determinants are important inputs to strategies for improved delivery of FP services.

Comment: Balanced counselling, a method of more or less continued counselling over a longer period, proved very valuable, not only in women starting to use a long-acting method of family planning, but also in those continuing to do so. (HMV)