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Perceptions of access to LARC removal among women in Burkina Faso.

Contraception 2023 October 5
OBJECTIVES: LARC initiation been well-studied and intervened upon. Because LARC requires provider intervention for initiation and removal, it is critical to measure informed choice at the time of desired discontinuation as well. We examined perceptions of access to LARC discontinuation among women at two sites in Burkina Faso, where LARC is the dominant method in the contraceptive mix.

STUDY DESIGN: We analyzed data from a 2017-2018 population-based, cross-sectional survey of n=281 implant users and n=55 IUD users at two sites in Burkina Faso. We measured perceptions of access to LARC discontinuation through survey items assessing whether participants 1) were informed on how to discontinue the method; 2) believed they could have LARC removed without a lot of difficulty; 3) believed cost would be a barrier to discontinuation; 4) had ever attempted to have a provider remove LARC; and 5) successfully had LARC removed. The distribution of these measures was examined in the population, and for differences by gravida, parity, domestic partnership, fertility desires, and recency of last childbirth.

RESULTS: Thirty-eight (11%) of current LARC users reported that they were not informed how to discontinue, 56 (17%) believed having their device removed would be difficult, and 54 (16%) believed cost would be a barrier to removal. Of women who attempted removal, providers did not immediately remove LARC on request for 10 (28%).

CONCLUSION: Findings indicate that LARC uptake is an insufficient measure of reproductive access or choice. Future studies should include patient-centered measures that span the full duration of contraceptive use.

IMPLICATIONS: This paper finds that a sizeable proportion of LARC users lack information about method discontinuation, and perceive or experience barriers to method removal. These findings call for a reconsideration of free and informed contraceptive choice to include the entire duration of contraceptive use, not only the time of method provision.

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