Govt to provide new, free contraception for all women

2014-02-19 16:26

A small under-the-skin contraceptive device will be made available free of charge to all women from next week, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told MPs.

Speaking during debate in the National Assembly on last week’s state of the nation address, he announced “the biggest family planning programme South Africa has ever seen”.

From Thursday next week, the tiny subdermal contraceptive device, about the size of a match, will be available to women at public hospitals around the country.

The device, which has to be inserted by a medical professional under the skin of the upper arm, conferred protection from pregnancy for three years.

“This device costs R1 700 if you go to a private doctor. But we shall give it free of charge to every woman in South Africa regardless of their socioeconomic status.

“It will be available in all public hospitals by February 27 and will reach all public clinics by the middle of this year.”

The advantage of the device over contraceptive injections – which can take up to 12 months for the effects to wear off – is that users of the subdermal implant can become pregnant within weeks of its removal.

In a statement issued yesterday, Motsoaledi said the contraceptive offered women more freedom.

“It gives women freedom to control their own lives. It can be taken out any time and if they want to [fall pregnant], it only takes a few weeks to conceive.”

Some nurses had undergone training on how to properly insert the implant and 4 000 more were going to do so, he said.

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