Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care 2014 Sep 17:1-10. [Epub ahead of print]

Emergency contraception (EC) in Senegal: Challenges and opportunities

Mané B, Brady M, Ramarao S and Thiam A

Abstract

Objectives: This paper highlights lessons from introductory efforts and presents new data on community, provider and key opinion leader perspectives to support expanded use of emergency contraception (EC) in Senegal.

Sources of information: The paper draws on four data sources: (i) a literature review; (ii) a secondary analysis of a household survey conducted by the Urban Reproductive Health Initiative; (iii) in-depth interviews with key opinion leaders; and (iv) a quantitative survey of healthcare providers from a range of service delivery points.

Analysis of data: Knowledge of EC among women is low in urban areas, with only 20% of women having heard of the method and 4% having ever used it. There were serious gaps in providers' technical knowledge about EC; only 57% knew its mode of action and 34% were aware of the need for timely use (within 120 h). Moreover, nearly half reported reluctance to provide EC to married women and even fewer were willing to provide it to youths, particularly to adolescent girls. Responses from key opinion leaders were mixed, demonstrating ambivalence about EC and how it could be offered.

Conclusion: In Senegal, the current positive political climate for family planning provides a good opportunity for strengthening EC programming to address knowledge and attitudinal barriers among providers, key opinion leaders and communities.

Comment: In Senegal, and in many other countries, there is a lack of knowledge about the mechanism of action of EC among users as well as providers. This hinders correct use. Information, training and advocacy are clearly needed to make an EC program a success. (HMV)