Expanding Access to Family Planning: Offering the Standard Days Method in Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo
Caroline Blair, Georgetown University
Marie Mukabatsinda, Awareness Project- Rwanda
Daren Trudeau, Georgetown University
Arsene Binanga, AWARENESS Project- DR Congo
The Standard Days Method of family planning (SDM) was introduced in Rwanda and DRC in October 2002 and July 2004, respectively. An assessment was conducted in Rwanda in 2003, following the first SDM introduction outside of a study setting. Findings include that 19% of new FP users at 13 pilot sites chose the SDM most of whom were first time family planning clients. Over 94% of women and their partners interviewed planned to continue use for one year and almost all found the method easy to use. Preliminary data suggest similar results from DRC, where 123 service providers and 64 community health workers now raise awareness and offer the method in 50 sites. Modern contraceptive prevalence rates are low in both countries (about 4%), while unmet need has increased. One viable strategy for helping meet this need is expanding options by increasing accessibility of natural methods such as the SDM.