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. 2011 Jun;37(2):67-74.
doi: 10.1363/3706711.

Emergency Contraceptive Pills: Knowledge and Attitudes of Pharmacy Personnel in Managua, Nicaragua

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Emergency Contraceptive Pills: Knowledge and Attitudes of Pharmacy Personnel in Managua, Nicaragua

Nina Ehrle et al. Int Perspect Sex Reprod Health. .

Abstract

Context: As abortion is illegal in Nicaragua, postcoital contraception is an important option for preventing pregnancy. Emergency contraceptive pills are available in Nicaraguan pharmacies over the counter, but pharmacy personnel's knowledge and attitudes about this method can affect access.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in Managua, Nicaragua's capital. Interviewers administered a semistructured questionnaire to 93 pharmacy employees to determine their knowledge of and attitudes toward emergency contraceptive pills. Descriptive statistics and cross-tabulations were used to examine responses of and differences between male and female employees.

Results: All participants knew about emergency contraceptive pills and reported experience selling them. The majority sold them at least once a week (92%), usually without a prescription (97%). Of participants who were aware that emergency contraceptive pills should be taken only after sexual intercourse, 45% knew that the pills can be taken up to three days afterward; none knew that the pills are effective up to five days afterward. More than one-third of all respondents (39%) thought the pills can induce abortion, and most overestimated contraindications and side effects. Large majorities believed the availability of emergency contraceptive pills discourages use of ongoing methods (75%), encourages sexual risk-taking (82%) and increases transmission of HIV and other STIs (76%). Sixty-three participants (68%) thought emergency contraceptive pills are necessary to reduce unwanted and unplanned pregnancy; 65% were willing to provide them to all women in need, although only 13% would provide them to minors.

Conclusions: Managuan pharmacy personnel frequently dispense emergency contraceptive pills, but need additional education to accurately counsel women about the method.

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