Journal Article

Emergency contraception in Senegal: Challenges and opportunities

Objectives
This paper highlights lessons from introductory efforts and presents new data on community, provider and key opinion leader perspectives to support expanded use of emergency contraception (EC) in Senegal.

Sources of information
The paper draws on four data sources: (i) a literature review; (ii) a secondary analysis of a household survey conducted by the Urban Reproductive Health Initiative; (iii) in-depth interviews with key opinion leaders; and (iv) a quantitative survey of healthcare providers from a range of service delivery points.

Analysis of data 
Knowledge of EC among women is low in urban areas, with only 20% of women having heard of the method and 4% having ever used it. There were serious gaps in providers’ technical knowledge about EC; only 57% knew its mode of action and 34% were aware of the need for timely use (within 120 h). Moreover, nearly half reported reluctance to provide EC to married women and even fewer were willing to provide it to youths, particularly to adolescent girls. Responses from key opinion leaders were mixed, demonstrating ambivalence about EC and how it could be offered.

Conclusion
In Senegal, the current positive political climate for family planning provides a good opportunity for strengthening EC programming to address knowledge and attitudinal barriers among providers, key opinion leaders and communities.