This article was written by Saidu Bah and originally published by Awoko Newspaper on 18 June 2018. Republished with permission.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has introduced the new Sino-implant (II) Levoplant that is a sub dermal contraceptive implant. The implant is a set of two flexible, cylindrical rods made of medical-grade silicon elastomer about the size of a matchstick. Each rod contains 75 mg of levonorgestrel, the active ingredient, for a total of 150 mg. Protection lasts for three years but can be removed at any time.
The implant can be inserted, just under the skin of a women’s upper arm by a trained health care provider using a disposable trocar as the insertion instrument.
Like other contraceptives, the Levoplant is one of the most effective family planning methods available. Each year, less than one pregnancy per 100 users is expected.
A woman can insert the implant anytime as long as she is not pregnant and some of the benefits are long lasting, safe and effective, the implant is effective 24-hours after insertion, no regular supply needed, does not require any further action once it is inserted. Fertility returns quickly once removed. It has limited side effects and is appropriate for women who wish to space or limit births.
At the Reproductive Health and Family Planning Department at the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital Fourah Bay Road in Freetown, Dr. Suliaman G. Conteh, the outgoing Manager of the Reproductive Health and Family Planning Department, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, disclosed that the use of family planning methods in Sierra Leone has increased from 7% to 9 % and currently 26% but observed that it is still low compared to other countries.
He continued that UNFPA has procured 65,000 Sino-implants to be offered free of charge to women of childbearing age and the department has trained 147 staff nationwide for the exercise.
According to Dr. Conteh, the training of trainers commenced in March this year and that 220 women have received the Sino-implants so far articulating that the Sino-implant prevents the release of eggs for fertilization. He further highlighting the need to control the country’s increasing population due to scarce resources and non-existent social services.
One of the beneficiaries shared her experiences disclosing that she does not experience any side effects and that she is okay. She went on to inform that the implant would enable her to adequately cater for her two children and family and encouraged men to be involved in family planning.