Background: Sub-Saharan Africa reports low use of family planning methods and high unmet need. Availability of these methods is one of the major barriers to contraceptive use in the region. This study determined the availability of modern contraceptives and perceived factors affecting this in health facilities in the Ga East municipality of Ghana.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study involving quantitative and qualitative techniques. Data was obtained from 51 randomly selected health facilities using a checklist. Relationships between certain attributes of the facilities and availability of each category of contraceptive identified was tested using univariate and and multiple logistic regression techniques. The qualitative data was obtained by conducting in-depth interviews with the managers of the facilities and then analysed according to emerging themes.
Results: The study gave an indication that there was a low availability of long acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) such as implants (14%) and IUDs (14%) in the health facilities. Male condoms (78%) and combined oral contraceptives (82%) were the most available At the bivariate level, emergency contraceptives were less likely to be found in public health facilities (OR = 0.11, p = 0.05). Facility managers cited 'profit' and 'preference' as some of the reasons for availability of their contraceptives.
Conclusion: Availability of modern contraceptives differ according to the type and brand of contraceptive. There is however a low availability of LARC methods in all the health facilities. Factors such as 'profit' accounted for the low availability of this method.