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An Investigation into Contraceptive Choice in South Africa

Catriona Towriss, University of Cape Town
Jessica Rucell, University of Stellenbosch

Postpartum contraception is an essential component of maternal and child health, enabling women to have control over their childbearing. Yet research has shown that in South Africa, as well as across Africa, women have limited access to a choice of contraceptive methods. We use a reproductive rights approach to examine postnatal contraceptive provision in three hospitals in Cape Town, South Africa. We collected quantitative data from patient records on contraceptive choice at first antenatal care visit and compare it with postpartum method provision. Focus groups discussions with nurses generated qualitative data on barriers and enabling factors affecting contraceptive provision, counselling and informed consent procedures. Preliminary results show method availability is largely restricted to injectable contraceptives and significant proportions of women do not receive their method of choice. Qualitative data shows providers do not have the skills needed to provide long term methods and counselling and informed consent procedures are inadequate.

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  Presented in Session 76. Rights-Based Family Planning in Resource-Poor Settings