April webinar series on Emergency contraception: promoting regional dialogues (in Spanish on April 9, in French on April 25)

Continuing  ICEC’s webinar series, please join us for a Spanish-language discussion on EC on April 9th at 11am EDT. 11 a.m. – 12. p.m EDT.  11h00 La Paz, Santo Domingo, New York; 9h00 Tegucigalpa; 10h00 Bogotá, Lima, Quito; 12h00 Santiago de Chile, Rio de Janeiro; 17h00 Barcelona

The webinar will include an update on the clinical guidelines on provision of EC pills, and advocacy experiences at the country and regional levels. Register here.

Speakers include:

  • Cristina Puig, ICEC/ECEC
  • Melissa Garcia, ICEC
  • Brenda Ibetle Alvarez , Promsex, Peru
  • Jinna Rosales, GOJoven, Honduras
  • Rossina Guerrero, Consorcio Latinoamericano de Anticoncepción de Emergencia (CLAE)

 

Following this, ICEC will be hosting a French-language webinar highlighting francophone Africa, on April 25, 9 a.m. EDT. More details to follow.

Journal article published on perceptions of ECPs in Kinshasa, DRC

New research on the Awareness and Perceptions of Emergency Contraceptive Pills Among Women in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo was published in the International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health journal. This article, co-authored by ICEC’s Melissa Garcia, is the second part of a qualitative research study conducted in Kinshasa, DRC.

The study used a methodology of focus group discussions among women aged 15-35 to examine awareness, and perceptions of, and attitudes towards emergency contraceptives (EC). DHS data for DRC shows knowledge of levonorgestrel ECPs is low, at 18.8%. Results found that women reported employing a wide range of behaviors to prevent pregnancy, with women often using inappropriate products, ex. deworming medicine or antimalarial medicines. Once levonorgestrel ECPs were described to them, and they were asked about potential benefits and risks of making EC more widely available, participants generally agreed that levonorgestrel ECPs could potentially meet their contraceptive needs.

Authors are Julie H. Hernandez, Mbadu Muanda, Melissa Garcia, Grace Matawa, from Tulane University, the National Program for Adolescent Health and the National Program for Reproductive Health, DRC Ministry of Health, and the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception.

Emergency Contraception Information updated in Third Edition of Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers

In support of the global family planning workforce, a new edition of Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers, commonly known as the Global Handbook, will be released on February 15 in New Delhi, India, at the 2018 Regional Consortium Meeting of the Implementing Best Practices (IBP) Initiative.

ICEC reviewed and endorsed this important document, which contains information on the ulipristal acetate form of EC and includes detailed updates on when to start a family planning method after taking emergency contraception. See the Chapter on EC here.

Written in plain terms and organized for quick review, the Global Handbook has served as the world’s standard reference on family planning methods and related topics since its first publication in 2006. To date, more than 500,000 copies have been distributed in 13 languages. This will be the third edition published jointly by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the World Health Organization (WHO), with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and its Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project. The Global Handbook is endorsed by more than 125 organizations worldwide. The website at http://www.fphandbook.org/ has been redesigned for easier navigation and use on mobile devices.

ICEC hosting EC dissemination meeting in Nigeria

On 1 February, 2018 the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception (ICEC) hosted a meeting in Abuja, Nigeria with various stakeholders in the region, including the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH).  The aim of this meeting is to share recent achievements and explore next steps for EC in Nigeria.

ICEC has been working in Nigeria with multiple partners since 2010 to increase access to EC, with a strategic approach focused on the policy, service delivery, awareness, provider, and community levels.  Under the current grant starting in 2014, ICEC advocated for EC to be included into Nigeria’s Essential Medicine List and provided technical assistance as Nigeria drafted their first-ever National Guidelines for Emergency Contraception.

Over the past year, there have been numerous activities by all partners to continue work in supporting these guidelines. Products that came out of this range from: client communications around EC, pharmacy detailing materials, and EC storylines inserted into radio dramas. These materials will be disseminated as we convene the FP/RH community to determine next steps for EC in Nigeria.

Prescription still needed in South Korea to access ECPs

A recent news article made the point that South Korea has emergency contraception (EC) in name only. While the article isn’t entirely accurate around side effects and other information, it makes some important points on EC access in South Korea.

During a review of their guidelines, South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety made the decision not to update their national guidelines on emergency contraception pills (ECPs) in 2016, continuing to classify ECPs as a prescription drug available only with a doctor’s prescription.  This is in contrast to WHO’s EC factsheet, stating that ECPs are safe for over the counter access.

The ministry had concerns over possible misuse or overuse of the EC pill, citing the fear of “a socially more accepting attitude toward sexual activities expected after the pill became available over the counter”. They also cited “a lack of public knowledge and possible side effects” as a barrier to moving it to over-the-counter status.

ECPs are extremely safe, even when used repeatedly, and side effects are relatively minor, benign and easy to manage. For more detail, see  ICEC’s Clinical Guidelines, ICEC – WHO Safety statement, WHO’s Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use, and ICEC’s Repeated Use Factsheet.

More up-to-date information on availability of EC in South Korea can be found in our Status and Availability Database. Two regimens of LNG ECPs are available, detailed in ICEC’s  EC regimen update: a single pill of 1.5 mg, and two pills of 0.75 mg each.

Register for next ICEC Webinar on Contested Access: EC in Malta, Peru, USA and other challenging environments

Emergency contraception (EC) can be a flashpoint, and in many settings, opposition to EC access continues.  Since the 2000’s, attempts have been made to restrict access in the Philippines, Chile, Ecuador, the United States of America, Poland, Peru, Malta, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, and Spain.

This webinar will share strategies and tactics used to confront or overcome political opposition to EC at different levels of the government. Presenters from Malta, Peru and the United States will discuss their experiences with product registration and license renewal, EC provision in the public sector, and exclusion in health insurance policies.

Speakers: 

Moderator: Cristina Puig, European Consortium for Emergency Contraception.

Malta, Opposition to product registration: Dr. Lara Dimitrijevic, Director, Women’s Rights Foundation.

Peru, Opposition to EC provision in the public sector: Karen Anaya, Lawyer, Promsex.

USA, Opposition to EC in health insurance and the Affordable Care Act: Mara Gandal-Powers, Senior Counsel, National Women’s Law Center.

Date: Thursday, January 25th, 2018

Time: 10 am EST USA (Lima, Washington DC), 4 pm CET (Barcelona, La Valetta, Warsaw).

Register: http://bit.ly/2mqTe8D

Webinar: Do women have access to emergency contraception in crisis settings?

Do women have access to emergency contraception in crisis settings?

EC is a lifesaving treatment essential in reproductive health programming in all stages of a humanitarian crisis, when health systems and regular contraceptive access are disrupted and when the risk of unintended pregnancy increase, along with sexual assault and transactional sex. However, multiple barriers to access are exacerbated in crises.

This webinar will provide a global overview of EC access in crisis settings, and include findings from research projects in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, among Congolese, Syrian, and Rohingya refugee women and girl refugees.

Register via this link and join us on Friday, 12 January, 2018 at 10 a.m. Lima, New York EST (7 am Seattle, 3 pm London, 4 pm Abuja and Brussels, 6 pm Nairobi, 8:30 pm New Delhi).

Presenters include:

  • Melissa Garcia (ICEC) will present a global overview of EC in crisis settings
  • Ruth Nara (University of Ottawa, International Development Research Centre) will discuss EC findings among Congolese refugees in Uganda
  • Mona El-Mowafi (University of Ottawa, Cambridge Reproductive Health Consultants) will describe EC knowledge, attitudes and provision among Syrian refugees in Jordan
  • Angel Foster (University of Ottawa, Cambridge Reproductive Health Consultants) present EC findings from RH needs assessment with Rohingya women and girls in Malaysia

Discussant:
Sarah Rich, Women’s Refugee Commission

New ICEC webinars in the New Year

As we celebrate a new year, ICEC would like to thank all of our members, partners, and colleagues who have worked so diligently with us this past year.

We would also like to include a special thank you to all those who have contributed in our recent webinar series on emergency contraception. In case you missed the last two, you can listen to the previous webinar recordings at this link . This past year our webinars discussed: data around EC knowledge and use and pricing of EC. We look forward to continuing our work in the New Year and continue sharing with everyone the great work being done around EC.

We hope to see you on our next webinar “Do women have access to emergency contraception in crisis settings? Global and local perspectives”. Register via this link and join us next year on Friday, 12 January, 2018 at 10 a.m. Lima, New York EDT (7 am Seattle, 3 pm London, 4 pm Abuja and Brussels, 6 pm Nairobi, 8:30 pm New Delhi).

Happy wishes for a prosperous new year from the ICEC team!

Webinar: Do women know about emergency contraception? Are they using it?

The question of how many women are using emergency contraception is not easily answered; data on use of EC are scarce and not easily comparable with data on use of other contraceptive methods. This makes assessing progress and impact challenging. At the same time, we do have consistent information from less developed countries on how many women are aware of emergency contraception, and these numbers are still surprisingly low.

To learn more, register here for our next webinar featuring data on EC use and awareness from PMA2020 and DHS, including an introduction from FP2020 drawing on the latest global progress report. Presenters include Alejandra Leyton of Tulane University and Jason Bremner of FP2020.

This webinar will take place on Thursday December 14th at 10 am EST (7am Pacific Standard Time, 3 pm Greenwich Mean Time, 4 pm Central European Time/West African Time, 6 pm East African Time).

New WHO Guidance on the Intersection of Systems Strengthening and Sexual Violence

On 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and as part of the #16days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence, WHO launched a new manual for improved quality of care to survivors of violence: Strengthening health systems to respond to women subjected to intimate partner violence or sexual violence: A manual for health managers. It is based on the WHO guidance on care for survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual violence (2013) and on the WHO health systems building blocks (2007).

The new manual highlights the importance of leadership, governance and accountability as an overarching principle and considers issues of policy change, budgeting and financing, community engagement and sectoral coordination. It addresses strengthening the healthcare workforce and improving supplies infrastructure for service delivery. The manual includes information on data, monitoring and evaluation, and scaling up. It also considers the diverse access points for survivors in need of services (pharmacies as well as facility-based) and what information needs to be provided to them.

Emergency contraception is included in the comprehensive, concrete approaches that stakeholders can take to ensure access to essential treatments throughout.

“Access to emergency contraception is a core element of the response to violence against women. Work with pharmacies to determine which formulations are available on the market and can be procured. Accordingly, determine what information about dosage and timing needs to be provided to women. Ensure that your staff have the correct information and are able to provide this information to women who need emergency contraception. You may consider developing a written policy to support best practices regarding provision of emergency contraception”

  • Policymakers can ensure that commodities for post-rape care, such as EC, are included on national essential medicines lists (see ICEC/RHSC/UNCoLSC EML Search tool).
  • Health services managers can ensure EC is on all lists and forms throughout the health system to prevent stock-outs or expirations, issues which EC pills have faced (EC is included in the related job aid). The guidance also notes the emergency reproductive health kits that are procured for humanitarian settings (Kit 3), which include ECPs.
  • Overall, stakeholders should “align the health system response with legal frameworks, including identifying and redressing procedures or policies that are barriers to access –such as requiring police reports before providing EC.”

As additional resources from ICEC, please see this fact sheet on EC for survivors of sexual assault and this blog post on barriers to access.