Most sexually active adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa are not using modern methods of contraception. While long-acting reversible contraceptive methods (LARCs) are highly effective, convenient and cost-effective, their uptake among young women is low.
Some of the barriers preventing increased access to LARCs among youth are related to health care providers, who may not be aware that LARCs are safe and effective for all women of reproductive age, including adolescents and young people that have not yet had children. To address this knowledge gap and help providers counsel young women on LARCs, the Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3) has created social and behavior change communication (SBCC) materials to help increase access to LARCs for youth (ages 15-24). The materials include:
- A video aimed for providers who may counsel young women about modern contraceptive methods,
- A video discussion guide to help program managers or health facility senior staff facilitate deeper dives into the video’s key messages,
- A take-home brochure (in two versions: one with photos, one with stills from the video) that provides information on LARCs for dissemination in clinic or non-clinic settings,
- A series of posters encouraging youth to find out more information on LARCs, and consider them as an appropriate method for them.
“We know that better access and increased use of contraceptives can help prevent hundreds of thousands of maternal deaths worldwide,” said Allison Mobley, HC3’s Senior Program Officer for Family Planning. “LARCs are among the most effective forms of modern contraception and can help give millions of young women the opportunity to achieve their dreams by finishing school, having a career, and having a family.”
The provider centerpiece, “Talking about LARCs with Young Clients,” is a three-minute animated video featuring Maria, a health care provider at a community clinic. Throughout the video, Maria addresses providers like her, reminding them why they should consider LARCs as a viable choice for youth. At the end of the video, Maria provides four key tips for counseling youth on contraceptive methods, including LARCs, and asks her peers, “Are you ready to make a difference? Start by talking with your clients about LARCs today.”
The video discussion guide brings additional focus to key video themes on increasing youth LARC access, including addressing provider bias, providing appropriate family planning (FP) counseling for youth and youth and empowering youth as decision-makers in their FP choices.
The supporting brochures and posters provide additional information on LARCs for youth in an inspirational and frank format through testimonials and taglines such as, “Not ready to get pregnant? Think about an IUD or Implant,” or “Achieve Your Dreams. Think about an IUD or Implant.” Information about both methods is then provided.
The materials will be officially launched in an April 26 webinar: Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptive Methods – Expanding the Range of Contraceptive Options for Youth.