Background: Introducing a new method into family planning programs requires careful attention to ensure it meets an actual need and has a positive effect on program goals. The Standard Days Method® is a fertility awareness-based method of family planning that is being introduced into family planning programs in countries around the world. It is different from other methods offered by programs, and may bring new couples into family planning, and increase contraceptive prevalence. The study assesses the effect on contraceptive use and prevalence of Introducing Standard Days Method into existing family planning services in whole regions of India, Peru, and Rwanda.
Methods: In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, health providers were given a contraceptive update on all methods, then trained in counseling on Standard Days Method. Efforts were made to promote demand in the context of informed choice. Routine monthly service statistics in control and intervention areas were used to assess the effect of Standard Days Method introduction at the clinic level; baseline and endline household-based surveys were undertaken to obtain results at the community level (n > 3400 women at endline).
Results: Demand for the method is evident in countries with different levels of contraceptive prevalence. The method attracts couples new to family planning, and introducing it into services may increase overall contraceptive prevalence.
Conclusions: Introducing Standard Days Method into existing family planning has the potential of benefiting men and women in diverse settings and populations. This study illustrates the critical role of evidence in scaling up a health innovation.