Objectives In many sub-Saharan African countries, the use of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) is low while unmet need for family planning (FP) remains high. We evaluated the effectiveness of a LARC access expansion initiative in reaching young, less educated, poor, and rural women. Methods Starting in 2008, Marie Stopes International (MSI) has implemented a cross-country expansion intervention to increase access to LARCs through static clinics, mobile outreach units, and social franchising of private sector providers. We analyzed routine service statistics for 2008–2014 and 2014 client exit interview data. Indicators of effectiveness were the number of LARCs provided and the percentages of LARC clients who had not used a modern contraceptive in the last 3 months (“adopters”); switched from a short-term contraceptive to a LARC (“switchers”); were aged <25; lived in extreme poverty; had not completed primary school; lived in rural areas; and reported satisfaction with their overall experience at the facility/site. Results Our annual LARC service distribution increased 1037 % (from 149,881 to over 1.7 million) over 2008–2014. Of 3816 LARC clients interviewed, 46 % were adopters and 46 % switchers; 37 % were aged 15–24, 42 % had not completed primary education, and 56 % lived in a rural location. Satisfaction with services received was rated 4.46 out of 5. Conclusions The effectiveness of the LARC expansion in these 14 sub-Saharan African FP programs demonstrates vast untapped potential for wider use of LARC methods, and suggests that this service delivery model is a plausible way to support FP 2020 goals of reaching those with an unmet need for FP.
Maternal and Child Health Journal – Springer Journals
Published: May 6, 2016
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