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Glob Health Sci Pract. 2016 Sep 29;4(3):410-21. doi: 10.9745/GHSP-D-16-00133. Print 2016 Sep 28.

Safety and Acceptability of Community-Based Distribution of Injectable Contraceptives: A Pilot Project in Mozambique.

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Pathfinder International, Watertown, MA, USA.
Mozambican Association of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist, Maputo, Mozambique.
University of California, Bixby Center for Population, Health and Sustainability, Berkeley, CA, USA.
University of California, Bixby Center for Population, Health and Sustainability, Berkeley, CA, USA


Mozambique has witnessed a climbing total fertility rate in the last 20 years. Nearly one-third of married women have an unmet need for family planning, but the supply of family planning services is not meeting the demand. This study aimed to explore the safety and effectiveness of training 2 cadres of community health workers-traditional birth attendants (TBAs) and agentes polivalentes elementares (APEs) (polyvalent elementary health workers)-to administer the injectable contraceptive depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), and to provide evidence to policy makers on the feasibility of expanding community-based distribution of DMPA in areas where TBAs and APEs are present. A total of 1,432 women enrolled in the study between February 2014 and April 2015. The majority (63% to 66%) of women in the study started using contraception for the first time during the study period, and most women (over 66%) did not report side effects at the 3-month and 6-month follow-up visits. Very few (less than 0.5%) experienced morbidities at the injection site on the arm. Satisfaction with the performance of TBAs and APEs was high and improved over the study period. Overall, the project showed a high continuation rate (81.1%) after 3 injections, with TBA clients having significantly higher continuation rates than APE clients after 3 months and after 6 months. Clients' reported willingness to pay for DMPA (64%) highlights the latent demand for modern contraceptives. Given Mozambique's largely rural population and critical health care workforce shortage, community-based provision of family planning in general and of injectable contraceptives in particular, which has been shown to be safe, effective, and acceptable, is of crucial importance. This study demonstrates that community-based distribution of injectable contraceptives can provide access to family planning to a large group of women that previously had little or no access.

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