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Improving access to emergency contraception in pharmacies.

Project Focus
Availability of emergency contraception in private sector pharmacies

Project Location
Durban Metropolitan area - South Africa

Duration of Project
2002 - 2004

Project Partners
Durban Metro Pharmacies, DoH

Project Donors

Contact Details
Dr Jenni Smit

Project Aim/ Objectives
This randomised control study aimed at measuring the availability of EC in private sector pharmacies in the Durban Metropolitan area, evaluated an educational intervention programme, developed for pharmacists in order to promote access to EC and determined if pharmacists provide appropriate counselling on STI risk after unprotected sex.
  1. To determine if EC is available in Durban pharmacies and is so, which products (E-GEN-C© ; Norlevo ©; Ovral©; Nordiol ©;  Microval© ;)   where available.
  2. To assess pharmacists' understanding of the new scheduling status of EC.
  3. To determine the accuracy of the ED dosage regimen advised by pharmacists.
  4. To determine whether appropriate counseling was provided by pharmacists when EC was given, including counseling on the risk of HIV/STI's and pregnancy after unprotected sexual intercourse, and counseling about longer term contraceptive options.
  5. To identify barriers to accessing EC in pharmacies. 
  6. To determine if access to EC improved after delivering an educational interventiion programme targeting pharmacists.

Project Activities

  • An education intervention programme was conducted for pharmacists and front shop personnel employed in the 30 pharmacies of 60 randomly selected pharmacies in the Durban Metro Area and allocated to the intervention arm. The objective of the intervention was to increase the knowledge of pharmacists about emergency contraception.
  • Following the intervention, one simulated client visit was made to each of the 60 pharmacies. Interviewing of pharmacists, in control and intervention pharmacies, followed the simulated client visit.  Information on, provision of EC in pharmacies, knowledge about EC and counselling strategies was obtained. 
  • Data capturing and analysis has been undertaken
  • Manuscripts for scientific journals are in preparation

Anticipated/Actual Results
  • Pharmacists knowledge about EC
  • EC available in Pharmacies
  • Pharmacies willingness to supply EC
  • Comprehensive counseling on STI/HIV prevention inadequate 
Additional Outputs
Journal articles
  • Ntsiki Manzini, Jenni Smit, Mags Beksinska, Provision of Emergency Contraception from Pharmacies  in Durban, South Africa to Mystery clients (to be submitted to The European Journal for Contraception and Reproductive Health Care in December 2006) 
  •  Jenni Smit, Ntsiki Manzini, Mags Beksinska; Mainstreaming access to EC in pharmacies.  ECafrique Bulletin Jan-Aug 2005, vol 3/1.
Future Plans
  • Development of EC IEC for pharmacies. 

Projects in the Barrier Methods & Contraception Cluster:

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