The US Dept. of Health defines family planning as ‘educational, comprehensive medical or social activities which enable individuals, including minors, to determine freely the number and spacing of their children and to select the means by which this may be achieved’. Family planning may involve the use of contraception and other techniques to control the timing of reproduction. Other components of family planning usually include sexuality education, prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections, pre-conception counselling and management, and infertility management.
This article concentrates on contraception
Types of contraception available in Nigeria
The most accessible and popular methods of contraception in Nigeria are: condoms and emergency contraception. However, both of these have their drawbacks.
Condoms are cheap, easy to manufacture, easy to distribute, and available globally, including in resource poor settings, through numerous well developed distribution channels. The current rate of global production is 15 billion units per year with an estimated 750 million users (Gates Foundation). Plus, condoms have almost universal product recognition.
However, in order for condoms to be effective, you have to use a new one correctly every single time sexual intercourse occurs.
Emergency contraception is a safe way to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex.
Postinor is the most common brand of contraceptive pill in Nigeria. It is very unlikely that you will have any serious or long term side effects after taking Postinor or any other approved brand of emergency contraceptive pill. It’s not safe to take the morning-after pill as many times as you may need to. It is also not the best way to prevent unintended pregnancies long-term as it is less effective and expensive compared to long term contraception.
However, the following methods of contraception are less readily available in Nigeria and across most of Africa . But they do give more choice to families.
- IUD: IUD stands for Intrauterine Device (basically: a device inside your uterus). An IUD is a tiny device that’s inserted in your uterus to prevent pregnancy. It’s long-term, reversible, and one of the most effective birth control methods out there.
- The Implant: The birth control implant is a tiny, thin rod about the size of a matchstick. The implant releases hormones into your body that prevent you from getting pregnant.
- Birth Control Patch: The transdermal contraceptive patch is a safe, simple, and affordable birth control method that you wear on the skin of your belly, upper arm, butt, or back. Put a new patch on every week for 3 weeks, and it releases hormones that prevent pregnancy. Then you get a week off before you repeat the cycle.
- Birth control pills: are a kind of medicine with hormones that you take every day to prevent pregnancy. There are many different brands of pills. The pill is safe, affordable, and effective if you always take it on time.
- The Depo Injection (Depo-Provera): is an injection you get from a nurse or doctor once every 3 months. It’s a safe, convenient, and private birth control method that works really well if you always get it on time.
Sources: Gates Foundation/Planned Parenthood/US Department of Health Administration
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