Western Cape Government Health has a new addition to its family of birth control options for women seeking to avoid unplanned pregnancy. The Implanon offers 100% protection and as an added bonus reduces the patient’s visits to the clinic for birth control to once in every three years rather than every two or three months depending on the type of birth control being used.
Implanon is fairly new in South Africa, but has been used in many European countries for a number of years and is the preferred form of birth control for many women. Implanon, as the name suggests, is birth control that is implanted into the upper inner arm of a woman and through slow release of progesterone prevents her from falling pregnant.
The implant is virtually painless due to local anaesthetic which is administered before the implant is inserted. The whole process, including counselling and paperwork, takes about 30 minutes to complete. The implant is safe for use by women of all ages and can even be inserted straight after delivery, thus allowing the mother to decide when she is ready to have another baby. The Implanon offers protection for up to three years and can be easily removed should the woman decide to have a baby prior to that. Normal fertility returns within a few weeks of removal of the device.
Western Cape Minister of Health, Mr Theuns Botha, stated: ‘In preparation for the Implanon, Western Cape Government Health has trained a clinical nurse practitioner in every clinic and maternity unit in the insertion of the Implanon. No woman in the Western Cape needs to find themselves in the difficult position of an unplanned pregnancy – all you need to do is visit your local clinic and ask to have the Implanon inserted. The device is implanted into the upper left arm in a painless procedure. You can even have it implanted before you go home after delivering your baby, thus ensuring that you do not fall pregnant too soon after giving birth.’
The implant protects from unplanned pregnancy, but women who engage in risky sexual practice or who suspect that their partners are not faithful should still use condoms to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, syphilis, HPV and gonorrhoea.
For more information and answers to any questions, please visit the following sites for information in all three official languages of the Western Cape: