“Use of injectable hormonal contraceptives: diverging perspectives of women and men, service providers and policymakers in Uganda”, authored by two WoMena members and published in the November 2012 edition of Reproductive Health Matters.
Abstract: The unmet need for family planning in Uganda is among the world’s highest. contraceptives, the most available method, were used by only 14.1% of married women in 2011. Recent data suggest that the main reason for unmet need is not lack of access, but fear of and unacceptability of side effects. In this qualitative study, 46 women and men were interviewed about their experience of injectable contraceptive side effects and the consequences for their lives. Thirty-two family planning service providers and policymakers were also interviewed on their perceptions. While using injectables, many of the women experienced menstrual irregularities and loss of libido. Both women and men experienced strained sexual relationships and expressed fear of infertility, often resulting in contraceptive discontinuation. Family planning service providers and policymakers often minimized side effects as compared to the risks of unintended pregnancy. Policymakers noted a lack of contraceptive alternatives and promoted family planning education to correct what they thought were misconceptions about side effects among both service providers and contraceptive users. Information alone, however, cannot diminish disturbances to social and sexual relationships. A common understanding of recognised side effects, not only with injectables but all contraceptives, is necessary if unmet need in Uganda is to be reduced.