Women in sub-Saharan Africa are voting with their feet. Or in the case of injectable contraceptives, they are voting with their arms.
Injectable contraceptives — which are typically administered in the upper arm and provide protection from pregnancy for 1-3 months depending on the formulation — are the most commonly used family planning method in sub-Saharan Africa, with more than one-third of contraceptive users choosing this method, according to a United Nations report. Worldwide, over 40 million women use injectable contraceptives, mainly depot medroxyprogesterone acetate — commonly known as Depo-Provera or DMPA.
Nineteen year old Masani* from Tanzania chose injectables because she wanted an effective method that was convenient and didn’t require daily action. When offered oral contraceptives at the clinic, she declined. “I will fail because I will forget,” she explained. Some women say that they appreciate injectable contraceptives because they do not require a more invasive medical procedure. For Masani, the familiarity of DMPA was appealing. “That one I can understand,” she said.