Exploring women's experiences and perceptions on the use of implanon as a contraceptive method in a selected primary health care facility in KwaZulu-Natal.
Mgobhozi, Lucky Nhlanhla.
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It has been argued that a large numbers of maternal deaths could be averted by the use of family planning; particularly long-acting methods, which are more advantageous, because these require fewer visits to health care facilities, are highly effective and cheap. Implanon is one of the many such contraceptives that have been introduced. The South African department of health recently introduced subdermal Implanon contraceptive implant with the aim to reduce teenage pregnancy and maternal mortality. Launched in 2013, the Implanon contraceptive was distributed to all public healthcare facilities across the country by early-2014, and effectively implemented nationally in all family planning and reproductive health clinics. The targets of Implanon were to every women meeting eligibility criteria living in both rural and urban areas. However, there have been a high number of complaints and issues arising with Implanon informally. It is imperative to understand the experiences and perceptions by the women using Implanon in order to adjust treatment implementation accordingly. The aim of the study was to explore the experiences and perceptions of women using Implanon at a selected primary health care clinic in Kwazulu-Natal, in order to develop a relevant intervention tool for the user that might assist the healthcare provider in service provision. This study targeted Implanon® users and employed the exploratory descriptive design using both qualitative and quantitative approach. In the quantitative approach, data was collected from 55 respondents who completed questionnaires, while in a qualitative approach seven participants were interviewed. Convenience sampling technique was used in the study. The study used close-ended questionnaires in the quantitative research, and open-ended questions were used for qualitative research as an instrument. The study setting selected a primary healthcare facility in KwaZulu-Natal. The findings of this study varying perceptions regarding Implanon®. While just more than half of respondents, 58.1%, were still satisfied with using the implant, 40.9% have discontinued using the implant, due to major side effects. Similarly, with regards to experiences of participants, while some participants were still willing to continue using this method of contraception, some reported experiencing major unwanted side effects, such as heavy menstrual bleeding, and low sex drive, which resulted in them stopping the use of Implanon. There was an identified need for clear screening tool for use by healthcare workers when initiating Implanon. The study therefore developed this tool to minimise unwanted side effects.