Ensuring the Right to Quality Hormonal Implant Removal Services

Over the last decade, the use of contraceptive hormonal implants has risen worldwide, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. These implants are easy-to-use and reliable, providing women and couples another option for effective, reversible contraception. By 2015, more than 10.5 million implants were distributed in resource-constrained environments throughout Africa and Asia, a 130% increase from three years prior in 2012.

With an increase in the use of hormonal contraceptive implants, the need to ensure access to quality implant removal services (an integral aspect of quality services) is evident. To expand these services, EngenderHealth is working with the Global Implant Removals Task Force to identify best practices for implant removals, including those related to capacity building, service provision, and research and data collection.

Implant Removals

Notably, EngenderHealth’s Expand Family Planning project (ExpandFP) has systematically implemented interventions to expand implant insertion and removal services (as well as other family planning services) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, and Uganda. The project utilizes EngenderHealth’s Supply–Enabling Environment–Demand (SEED) Programming Model, engaging a holistic approach to ensure that proper supply, enabling environment, and demand components are in place to ensure access to implant insertions, removals, and other family planning services. Between January 2014 and June 2016, ExpandFP worked to engage communities, improve service capacity through training and supervision, and increase service delivery to help more than 135,000 women obtain hormonal implants. ExpandFP also facilitated access to removal services for over 4,000 women. In a three country study on client perceptions of quality and choice, a large majority of implant adopters interviewed said they were given essential information on the benefits of implants, on when and where to get the implant removed, and on their right to removal at any time.

EngenderHealth has released Contraceptive Hormonal Implant Removal Services: Experiences from the ExpandFP Project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, and Uganda, a brief developed to assist those engaged in family planning policy and program planning, implementation, and management to understand what needs to be in place to ensure access to removal services. The brief also expands on recent increases in implant use, as well as on the ExpandFP experience described above.

Fulfilling the right of all women to timely, affordable implant removal and contraceptive security is essential for all societies and the prosperity of contraceptive care worldwide. ExpandFP will be working diligently throughout 2017 to document best practices, evaluate project success, and further improve access to quality implant insertion and removal services.

We encourage all committed to clients’ reproductive rights to read and share the ExpandFP brief on implant removal services and to share their own lessons and practical tips in ensuring that these rights are protected in their work.

In addition, for more information on the work of the Global Implant Removal Task Force, please consider participating in the LARC/PM Community of Practice webinar, to be held on January 24, 2017. To register, please see here.