Health minister announces free contraceptive

2014-02-19 22:24

Cape Town - 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 on Wednesday.

Speaking during debate in the National Assembly on last week's state-of-the-nation address, he announced what he called "the biggest family planning programme South Africa has ever seen".

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

The device, which had 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 socio-economic status.

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

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

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Motsoaledi said it 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 few weeks to conceive."

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

  • Mawethu Daweti - 2014-02-19 22:32

    Great stuff.

  • Francois-Jacques Malan - 2014-02-19 22:34

    Good work Aaron! Only minister in cabinet that actually works!

      Gift Mogiftana - 2014-02-20 08:12

      He still has a lot of work to do, but he really tries...Imagine if we had someone like him heading the public education sector

      Askido De Mamz - 2014-02-20 13:50

      lot of people don't know that he is a doctor by profession....

  • Joshua Kgorutle - 2014-02-19 22:38

    Well done Minister, we have always wanted something like that in my family. I wanted 2 have only 2 kids but now they are 5, other contraceptives did not do me any good, I hope this 1 will work. My family Doctor and her helper did not believe us when we told them about my wife being preg with my 3rd, 4th and 5th childs.

      Joshua Kgorutle - 2014-02-19 23:20

      I do take good care of my kids and they are very proud of me. I accepted that they are gifts from God and I don't regret what happened. It is just that I don't wanna have more kids than I have now.

      Joshua Kgorutle - 2014-02-19 23:27

      Vasectomy is like castrating myself Cg. I can't ejaculate without sperming.

      tommy.staden - 2014-02-19 23:45

      Why don't you go get snipped then? It takes 10mins and you are done, i did after having 2 kids and have no regrets, it should be our responsibility too

      Gerald Nchabeleng - 2014-02-20 00:02

      @ cg tours, one would rather your response carried less agression and houlier than thou attitude, also one would hope for a more considered and reconciliatory response, esp when you presume to be correct. There is much wisdom in Joshua's humility you can learn from. Since you profane this new method vis a vis vesectomy it seems prudent to offer a more nuanced appraisal of vasectomy, comparing it to this method. A vasectomy is a surgical procedure that albeit it being a day procedure not requiring admission overnight does none the less carry operation effort/skill and thus time (about und 30min), and associated risk of any invasive procedure and its complications, for example infection and bleeding ( more long term complications include post vasectomy pain syndrome). Compare the time it takes to do a vasectomy to other procedures like a circumcision or a caesarian section. Pretty much the same time though i concede these two carry more effort and therefore risk. Do you think we have the technical manpower to do this carte blanche at every outpatient facility? Or the capacity to manage the complications? Could this new method be easier public healthwise? It being less dependent on surgical skill? And the other important consideration, reversibility? Who knows what the future holds, some people have to start over. Another consideration, women are likely to be more intersted in birth control than men.

      Janine Filmer - 2014-02-20 00:06

      Joshua - vasectomy does not affect your ability to ejaculate - it only means that there are no sperm contained in the fluid.

      Gerald Nchabeleng - 2014-02-20 00:20

      What about the psychological fear of the "scalpel"? Does it not seem less intimidating to be "cut" up as opposed to down there? Of the two methods which is cheaper? Privately a vasectomy costs in the region of R5000, excluding follow up costs, with complications the costs rise. Training: do we have enough human resource (doctors) capable of doing a vasectomy, and if not, from a public health point of view what method is easier to teach? Onset of action: how many surgeons/ family doctors do you think perform wash outs to reach azoospermia? So how long after a vasectomy is one sterile? Do compare to the subdermal homornal implant? One can go and on and I concede I got side-tracked. I was originally merely trying to discourage your houlier than thou attitude which franlky came out as more beligerent and arrogant than was informative. Lastly I am not against vasectomy as a form of contraception.

      Scouter Four-One - 2014-02-20 00:22

      Don't waste your time everyone, trying to explain - one needs to have had a basic education in order to understand....

      jong.wat - 2014-02-20 04:14

      Oh darn. How do I use condom? Facepalm!

      ToldYouSo - 2014-02-20 04:23

      Please take note of the headline: Health minister announces FREE contraceptive.. I rest my case. Joshua, well done and your lateral thinking.

      Joshua Kgorutle - 2014-02-20 08:48

      @Scouter, do u have dat basic education u r talking about? If u do, u don't sounds like some 1 who has..@Janine..I better comdomise or get my wife sterilised than releasing just any other fluid with no sperm in it.

      Alida Pope - 2014-02-20 09:29

      @Joshua Kgorutle, Contraceptives also did not work for me, but its common knowledge that men can have vasectomies to prevent pregnancies. Result I only have 2 children

      Jacqui Daane Van Rensburg - 2014-02-20 09:35

      Cg Tours. You could have replied to Joshua in a much kinder version. He obviously doesn't know or understand about a vasectomy. It would have been much kinder of you if you took the time to explain to him the benefits of such a minor operation. Instead you put him down, not a nice move on your part.

      npriem - 2014-02-20 10:04

      Not too sure if anyone is aware of this but contraception at all clinics are currently free...

  • joe.todani - 2014-02-19 22:45

    Stil no Panado at the clinics.. I wonder who won the tender to supply those ones

      Gift Mogiftana - 2014-02-20 10:55

      with an attitude like that, even if he announced to give unlimited pills to all hospitals you would still complain about him not supplying patients with water to down those pills...grow up man, this is good news

  • Izak GabriĆ«l Beukes - 2014-02-19 22:46

    So who's paying for it?

      Ahava Shapiro - 2014-02-19 23:03

      All South Africans that purchase anything that VAT is levied on, is paying tax. VAT is the largest contributor to collected tax in a South Africa.

      Vessela Hobson - 2014-02-19 23:37

      Never you mind who's paying for it, this is going to help more than the money spent on it. At least it's tax money being put to good use *cough* nkandla *cough*

  • gaby.hide.3 - 2014-02-19 22:56

    This is fantastic news. Well done anc.

      Joshua Kgorutle - 2014-02-19 23:39

      Are u saying because it is nearing elections they must not do anything?

  • Jennifer Dudu Skritshi - 2014-02-19 23:18

    best news ever, I am going for it on friday #GREAT STUFF MINISTER

      Jacqui Daane Van Rensburg - 2014-02-20 09:46

      Jennifer. Good on you.

  • Fhulufhelo B Takalani - 2014-02-19 23:18

    Wow that's good news.

  • Lilly Dikgole - 2014-02-19 23:24

    great news ever mr minister bravo!!!

  • kevin.macintyre - 2014-02-19 23:24

    Good news

  • Itumeleng G Moloke - 2014-02-19 23:25

    this device is now goin to promote unprotected sex OMG whats hpning to this world

      Nkalanga Muzi - 2014-02-19 23:41

      100% HIV infection and our country will need more ARV

      Jay Ladden - 2014-02-20 01:31

      yup. more HIV infected = more ARVs = more money

      ToldYouSo - 2014-02-20 04:04

      Nothing new here, they've been doing that for thousands of years. #nosuprise.

  • Jane Botolo - 2014-02-19 23:36

    Mr Minister, you are missing the point, it's not that they can't prevent pregnancy, they want the grant money.

  • Anele Booi - 2014-02-19 23:45

    Good job sir #brought to you by anc

  • Sipho Mnyakeni - 2014-02-20 00:15

    i fear that this free contraceptives may be an accelerator of sexual activity without the need for a condom thus a threat to the HIV battle

      Nic Mechanic - 2014-02-20 00:34

      good point....

      Jay Ladden - 2014-02-20 01:27

      good neuron connections, you make a valid point. this could help lower birth rates but could also contribute to the spread of HIV

      Kagiso Booi - 2014-02-20 05:25

      Do you lads use condoms?

      Musa Jumpshot Khumalo - 2014-02-20 06:35

      Can you propose an alternative then? All you know is just to criticize! Wasn't that what the condom was suppose to achieve? People are having unprotected sex anyway, at least this gives us an option to control birth and can still be used with condoms.

  • Nic Mechanic - 2014-02-20 00:32

    what?....and loose the child grant?....

  • Johan D du Toit - 2014-02-20 00:46

    Who's going to pay for it? Will the medical professional perhaps be Cuban?

      ToldYouSo - 2014-02-20 03:54

      A lot cheaper than monthly child grants. The Government is footing the bill and rightfully so!

  • Blameer Boesman - 2014-02-20 01:33

    Ja but, ja but.... how will they get their child grants?

      ToldYouSo - 2014-02-20 03:50

      They'd have to get off their behinds and actually work! Never know, this could catapult a few into proper business women that could potentially create their own legitimate businesses. Eg "job creation" mm..? Catch up to the 1st world.

  • Mark Russell - 2014-02-20 02:52

    Don't be fooled! This is actually part of the pedestrian etag program :)

  • Bhekubaba Mawelela - 2014-02-20 03:24

    the device should be made a health compulsory tool...young children get pregnant far too easy these days.

      Nettie Potgieter - 2014-02-20 06:24

      Taking away the child grant or reduce it to one child only Will also help.

  • - 2014-02-20 04:50

    "Promise alot, deliver I think not" government waiting to announce it now? Ja right. But roll out in this beautiful country is not always an easy task! Good luck dude.

  • - 2014-02-20 04:52

    Ps. What is the medical term for this "miracle" device?

  • Treasure Thabede - 2014-02-20 05:25

    Could this be the same device that has been proposed by the New World Order (illuminati) to track people?

      Phae Rayden - 2014-02-20 06:29

      Yes Einstein, that's exactly what the Health department is doing, as lackeys of the Illuminati they are spending millions to microchip women from poorer communities to control them. Wow you really need to learn to apply reason to what you read.

  • criticallyhonest - 2014-02-20 06:04

    A great start. Now make the child grant conditional on permanently having this implant.

      Erna Westdyk - 2014-02-20 06:07

      They'll never do that - lose too many voters! One of the reasons the ANC is so popular is because of social grants!

  • MJS1234 - 2014-02-20 06:21

    Credit where it is due, this is a great idea. Now they need to make it compulsary for all girls under the age of 21.

  • psbuthelezi - 2014-02-20 07:03

    Thank you Mr. Minister.

      Sophy Manganye - 2014-02-20 07:07

      Great indeed.

  • Joyce Djladyjoy - 2014-02-20 07:07

    we already have that contraceptive devise @ our local clinic,i saw it last week

  • John Nkulu - 2014-02-20 07:09

    No more excuses!

  • Kevin Miller - 2014-02-20 07:13

    Is very good thing but i think its might increase the HIV rate in the country,because I notice people they more scared of Pregnacy than HIV. - 2014-02-20 07:32

      I agree completely.

  • Philip Hanekom - 2014-02-20 07:16

    Alles begin maar by opvoeding. Hoekom saam met iemand slaap as jy nog nie getroud is met daardie persoon nie. Sal al die soort van probleme oplos. Daar was eendag vir my gese: ''Seks voor die huwelik is die duiwel se speeding".

      Philip Hanekom - 2014-02-20 11:16

      Dit gaan nie oor bangpraat nie. As die Bybel as handleiding vir die lewe gebruik word het ons geen van die problem gehad nie.

  • Helga Fraser - 2014-02-20 07:17

    Aaron Motsoaledi - one of our most effective ministers! With the proper education and information provision this is a great initiative - especially for young people who want to plan their lives well!! And taxpayers will save on grant money in the long run!!

  • - 2014-02-20 07:20

    This implant is barely out of the testing phase. The World Health Organization reports the flowing side effects from the implant: irregular bleeding, mood swings, weight gain, breast tenderness, acne, depression, dizziness, vaginitis, stomach pain, hair loss, painful periods, back pain, nausea, viral infections, extra body and/or facial hair and spotty darkening of the skin, especially on the face. Do you really want to put this in your body?

      Kerry Botha-Breetzke - 2014-02-20 11:23

      Rubbish. This implant has been successfully used for many years here in the UK and is now the most in demand form of contraception with waiting lists to receive it. It is also the most effective contraceptive on the market currently. The side effects you listed are common to every hormonal contraception and not only the implant.

      Kerry Botha-Breetzke - 2014-02-20 11:23

      Rubbish. This implant has been successfully used for many years here in the UK and is now the most in demand form of contraception with waiting lists to receive it. It is also the most effective contraceptive on the market currently. The side effects you listed are common to every hormonal contraception and not only the implant.

      Kerry Botha-Breetzke - 2014-02-20 11:24

      Rubbish. This implant has been successfully used for many years here in the UK and is now the most in demand form of contraception with waiting lists to receive it. It is also the most effective contraceptive on the market currently. The side effects you listed are common to every hormonal contraception and not only the implant.

  • Ken Amery - 2014-02-20 07:33


  • Charles Lesiba - 2014-02-20 07:37

    good minister representing the wrong party.why cant you be the president.

  • Gavin Harrison - 2014-02-20 07:53

    Make it compulsory for showerhead to take them.

  • Rambelani Ntsieni - 2014-02-20 08:05

    is dat gud idea?

  • Lara A. - 2014-02-20 08:06

    Well done.

  • Gaku Lavhuswa - 2014-02-20 08:27

    bye bye pregnacy and welcome HIV Aids.

  • Mandla Shiphamele - 2014-02-20 08:28

    Yaa tita vuya a South Africa.Enjoy responsibly

  • Andrea Vorster Human - 2014-02-20 08:32

    Now the work begins: to actually CONVINCE people to make use of the deal!!!!

  • Leigh-anne Baaliah - 2014-02-20 08:36

    We humbly thank you for this election gesture, but is it possible to do something with the rude staff at the clinics? I am sure people would love to have this implant without having to deal with rude, incompetent staff at the clinics.

  • vuyokazi.majola - 2014-02-20 09:23

    Minister kopa motho wa mme posong hore abuwe le bomme hore ba tlohele hobechetsa banna ka bana hoping hore akase tsamae. Good idea that needs to be accompanied by a paradigm shift.

  • Jacqui Daane Van Rensburg - 2014-02-20 09:29

    Good news, I hope many women make use of this service.

  • Sharon Miller - 2014-02-20 09:47

    Typical male chauvinism. Why has the Minister of Health never advocated and promoted vasectomies.It has been around for several years and has proven to be safe without side effects of external hormones. Men are just as responsible for contraception as women. Stand up for your rights women!!!

  • Gerrit Volschenk - 2014-02-20 09:53

    Health services are in chaos and all this man can come up with in parliament is "free contraceptives". How pathetic.

      Judith Kluge - 2014-02-21 04:46

      Gerrit, your statement is very concerning as it portrays your lack of knowledge about maternal mortality and perinatal mortality in this country. I am very excited that finally our governments health minister is finally talking about contraception. In sub-saharan africa a woman's lifetime risk of dying just because she fell pregnant is 1 in 22. This is more than breast and cervixal cancer (the leading causes of cancer deaths in SA). The implant pregnancy failure rate (i.e. Efficacy) is 0.05% which is 10 times safer than a female sterilization compare that to the pill which is 8% (typical use failure rate). Many women have unintended pregnancies due to contraceptive failures. I personally have had to do termination of pregnacies for life threatening conditions because women were not given options on effective contraception offered only the pill or the injectable contraceptive. Family Planning saves lives. If you want I am more than happy to provide you with evidence supporting this statment. Please contact me Dr Judith Kluge, Specialist Obstetrician and Gynaecologis, University of Stellenbosch, Tygerberg Hospital

      Judith Kluge - 2014-02-21 04:59

      In addition I can give you evidence that regarding health services and social services this is one of the most cost effective contraceptives and will indirectly improve these services as every unintended pregnancy you prevent you dcrease burden on health staff, TOP services, antenatal services, child support grant education etc.. Which you the tax payer pays for (I hope you pay tax..) To give you an example the cost of one day spent in a level one hospital like Karl Bremer for a woman to give birth costs the tax payer about R1500/ day. The implant costs R1616 at dischem pharmacy but the state has negotiated a cheaper price with the pharmaceutical company (a fraction of the cost which I can't disclose) to provide it free of charge for patients. I think this is very progressive and Aaron Motsoledi should be applauded as this ultimately saves YOU the tax payer money. Freeing up rsources both financial and staff resources to provide better service in our public health facilities. So ultimately by providing highly effective contraceptive to women in SA we provide better health for all.DR Kluge

  • linda.watson.794 - 2014-02-20 10:45


  • linda.watson.794 - 2014-02-20 10:47

    Not all women would be willing to use it but it gives some the option. It also means they don't need to worry about taking the pill regularly or asking a man to use a condom in a society where they consider it immaculating. This only works in a monogamous relationship. Dangerous for casual sex due to STDs...

  • Thelma TK Kgapane - 2014-02-20 10:52

    So excited!!!At least will have low rate of maternal and perinatal mortality..

  • Uwe Merkle - 2014-02-20 10:53

    This is good news! LEt's hope it gets used and made available to all!

  • Maphefo Lilly Mampane - 2014-02-20 11:33

    Goodbye contraceptive pills, Hello device...

  • Samantha Schwarer - 2014-02-20 11:43

    Will women who get this be encouraged to use condoms as well? Will men use this as another excuse to not use condoms? I'm all for free contraception, but aren't we still trying to fight sexually transmitted diseases as well?

      Seek Anfind - 2014-02-20 12:07

      I see std's as the great evolutionary equalizer. stupid people beed too fast this is one way that can strengthen the gene pool..