Increased use of injectable contraception in sub-Saharan Africa

Afr J Reprod Health. 2012 Dec;16(4):68-80.


National surveys show a remarkable upsurge in the use of injectable contraceptives in east and South Africa, in contrast to central and West Africa and certain other regions. Data are analyzed here from 95 surveys conducted since 1980 in 38 sub-Saharan African countries, to determine past injectable trends in the context of alternative methods and to explore related issues. In eastern and southern countries injectable use has risen to about 15%-20% of married women, equaling about 40% of all contraceptive use, with some countries above that. Increases in total use have followed increases in injectable use; that and other evidence is clear that the injectable has not merely substituted for the use of pre-existing methods but has given a net increase to total use. Rural use patterns are not much different from urban ones; however the middle and higher wealth quintiles have especially moved toward injectable use. In west and central countries traditional methods are still paramount, with modern methods increasing slightly, but total use remains quite low there. So far no plateau has appeared in total injectable use, though one may be emerging in its share of all use as other methods also increase. Most use is supplied through the public sector, which raises long-term cost issues for health ministries and donors. Many sexually active, unmarried women use the method Discontinuation rates are quite high, and alternative methods need to be kept readily available.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Africa South of the Sahara / epidemiology
  • Contraception Behavior* / statistics & numerical data
  • Contraception Behavior* / trends
  • Contraception* / methods
  • Contraception* / psychology
  • Contraception* / statistics & numerical data
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female* / supply & distribution
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female* / therapeutic use
  • Family Planning Services / methods
  • Family Planning Services / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Injections* / statistics & numerical data
  • Marital Status
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Growth
  • Safe Sex / psychology
  • Safe Sex / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors


  • Contraceptive Agents, Female