Despite official ruling that states women should be ensured wide access to contraceptive services, most women who visit medical centers are not informed about latest and long-lasting contraceptive forms (contraceptive implants, injections) by their physician. If only this were to be implemented, a significant number of unwanted pregnancies can be avoided.
The reach of such effective contraceptive options is still poor. A recent study conducted by the FPA to increase contraceptive awareness has revealed that the frequency of use of the oral contraceptive pill is as high as 1 in 4 among women aged between 16 to 49 years. Less than 9% of women use the reversible, long-lasting form of contraception.
From the survey, it has been found that less than 1/3rd of FPA Helpline callers were informed about alternative contraceptive options. More than 1/3rd of them were totally unaware of the IUD and approximately 76% of callers had not heard about IUS before. 1 in four callers were poorly informed about implants and 12% were totally unaware of injectable contraceptive options.
In addition, reports of contraception failure have been on the increase amongst women who had presented to the clinic for abortion. This could be attributed to poor contraceptive pill compliance rates. As much as 47% of women reported one instance of non-compliance while 22% reported non-compliance at least twice a month. Less than half of all general physicians were informed about the new recommendations by Nice.
Long lasting reversible contraception has four options that include the intra-uterine system (IUS), intra-uterine device (IUD), contraceptive injections and implants. The former two methods involve insertion of a medical device that is left in place until contraception is desired, for 2 or 3 years. A contraceptive implant would be effective for several years while the effect of the injection lasts several weeks.
The National Institute for Clinical and Healthcare Excellence (NICE) has urged the health care providers to offer long-lasting reversible contraception (Larc) methods as a preliminary choice, compared to the pill. It has also been projected that a 9% increase in the Larc uptake would reduce as much as 70,000 unwanted pregnancies every year. Consequently, it would precipitate a £33m reduction in the maternal health and abortion costs.