“At first I was afraid to have something inside of my uterus, but now my period is regular again and I feel healthier.” – satisfied IUS client, Honorina (age 27). (c) PSI/Shayla Durrett
This piece was originally published on PSI's blog, Impact.
As a young woman in Madagascar studying to become a seamstress, Honorina didn’t want the stress of worrying about unintended pregnancy. She was already well aware of the complex choices women face to manage their reproductive health; many methods she had used before didn’t align with her personal preferences for family planning. She had tried the traditional rhythm method but worried that it didn’t provide enough protection. She had tried injectables but found it too inconvenient to visit the clinic every three months for another dose. Then, looking for effectiveness and convenience, Honorina tried the implant, but she found it difficult to manage the irregular spotting she experienced. None of these methods quite aligned with her needs, preferences, and lifestyle.
Madame Togo Kadiatou Mallé, president of Muso Yiriwa Ton. Photo: David J. Olson
The first five times the sales manager of Keneya Jemu Kan came looking for Madame Togo Kadiatou Mallé to talk about her women’s association selling condoms and other health products, she ran away and hid, so terrified was she of the prospect of having to work with condoms.
But the sales manager’s persistence paid off. Eventually, they talked, and Madame Togo has become such an enthusiastic condom promoter, she is known as Mama Condom. She laughs about her fear of condoms.
Frontline health workers can reassure women about the menstrual bleeding changes they are likely to experience when using contraception. The NORMAL tool provide simple guidance. Photo by Jessica Scranton.
Around the world, women often worry about the menstrual bleeding changes they experience when using contraception. This anxiety can be especially pronounced when their menses stop completely – a normal and safe phenomenon called “amenorrhea” – when using certain types of hormonal methods.
Frontline health workers play a key role in reassuring women about contraceptive-induced menstrual bleeding changes, including amenorrhea. They can also let women know that reduced or no bleeding can have both health and lifestyle benefits for girls and women. Because of the potential advantages of amenorrhea, we think it’s time to embrace and celebrate this potential “side effect” of contraception and re-frame it as a positive method attribute.
New contraceptive products have the potential to help women and girls plan the families and lives they desire. Among the 214 million women in developing countries with an unmet need for family planning, many cite method-related reasons for not using contraception. Some women want methods with different side effects, or no side effects at all. Others need discreet methods, or methods they can use while breastfeeding. Ensuring that women have access to a broad range of methods is one critical component of meeting their contraceptive needs. In almost all cases, local registration of contraceptive products is a prerequisite for access.
The Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP) developed a new online resource - Results 4 Informed Choice - to support HIV and family planning program implementers, government representatives, advocates and journalists interested in the potential increased risk of acquiring HIV for women using progestogen-only contraceptives.
The development community’s interest in enhancing the resilience of individuals, households, and communities in lower- and middle-income countries so they can better contend with environmental and human-made shocks and stress is growing. While good health at the population and individual level, and the ability to space and plan births, are thought to contribute to resilience, existing resilience-building frameworks have largely ignored the role of population dynamics. The potential contributions of family planning to resilience have remained unknown—until now. Newly published research on a project in western Tanzania provides evidence that family planning is positively associated with multiple components of resilience.
This post originally appeared on the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP) blog.
A comprehensive program to prevent maternal mortality by strengthening public and private health networks in Uganda and Zambia led to a dramatic reduction in deaths, suggest new findings published March 14 in Global Health: Science and Practice’s supplement on “Saving Mothers, Giving Life.”
DKT Brazil promotes its Prudence condoms during Carnaval in São Paulo the first week of March. This approach is typical of DKT Brazil's successful technique of promoting condoms for fun, and not for protection and responsibility. Photo: DKT Brazil
SÃO PAULO, Brazil — In 1991, a non-profit social marketing organization set out to make condoms accessible and affordable in Brazil at a time when they were expensive and hard to find, and the number of Brazilians with HIV was climbing. In the process, DKT Brazil made its brand Prudence the number-one condom in the very competitive Brazilian market, and also helped enhance contraceptive security.
The result is that condoms have become normalized in Brazil—more used and less stigmatized—which has helped limit the spread of HIV.
In 1990, the World Bank estimated that Brazil would have 1.2 million people living with HIV by 2000. However, that never happened: By 2000, there were fewer than 500,000 infections. After peaking in 1996, according to UNAIDS, AIDS-related deaths have remained fairly stable. Brazil is now considered an HIV success story. Condoms—distributed through by the public and private sectors— played an important role in that success.