149801 Over the counter provision of a fertility-awareness based method: Can pharmacy clients use it correctly?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Claudia Velasquez, MPH , Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Trinity Zan, MA , Applied Research Department, Family Health International, Durham, NC
Josephat Avoce, MD , OSV-Jordan, Parakou, Benin
Dido Bolekela, MD , BEM, Kinshasa, Congo-Kinshasa
Many couples risk unplanned pregnancy due to inaccessible or poor quality services. Program managers and policy makers now recognize the need to provide a greater variety of services to an increasing number of users with reduced resources. Efforts to address unmet need must expand access to family planning options, Many couples rely on pharmacies as their main source of health care. Successful over-the-counter provision of oral contraceptives has been documented in several settings. No similar information exists on the feasibility of providing the Standard Days Method (SDM) and its accompanying visual tool, CycleBeads®, in pharmacies or on the ability of clients to use it correctly. A study comparing pharmacy and clinic clients conducted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Benin provides information on SDM use. These clients purchased CycleBeads from pharmacies supported by Population Services International (PSI) and public and private clinics. A total 162 pharmacy and 420 clinic clients were admitted into the study and followed quarterly for six months. Results suggest that in both countries it is equally feasible to offer the SDM via pharmacies and clinics; clients found the method simple to learn and use; most couples decided to use a combination of abstinence and barrier method on fertile days; and most users were satisfied with the method and found that it improved the couple's relationship. Recommendations for program managers wanting to expand access to family planning through pharmacy networks will be discussed, as well as implications for national policies regarding family planning service delivery.

Learning Objectives:
By the end of the session, participants will be able to: (1) recognize reasons for changing policies to expand family planning accessibility through pharmacies; (2) determine whether pharmacy clients can use a fertility-awareness based method correctly; and (3) identify programmatic implications for social marketing programs providing a method through a pharmacy.

Keywords: Social Marketing, Family Planning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.