A prospective cohort study of the feasibility and acceptability of depot medroxyprogesterone acetate administered subcutaneously through self-injection

Contraception. 2017 Mar;95(3):306-311. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2016.10.007. Epub 2016 Oct 24.


Objectives: Evidence on contraceptive self-injection from the United States and similar settings is promising, and the practice may increase access. There are no published studies on the feasibility of contraceptive self-injection in sub-Saharan Africa to date. The purpose of this study was to assess feasibility of subcutaneous depot medroxyprogesterone acetate self-injection in Uganda, with specific objectives to (a) measure the proportion of participants who self-injected competently, (b) measure the proportion who self-injected on time 3 months after training (defined conservatively as within 7 days of their reinjection date) and (c) assess acceptability.

Study design: In this prospective cohort study, 380 18-45-year-old participants completed self-injection training by licensed study nurses, guided by a client instruction booklet, and practiced injection on prosthetics until achieving competence. Nurses supervised participants' self-injection and evaluated injection technique using an observation checklist. Those judged competent were given a Sayana® Press unit, instruction booklet and reinjection calendar for self-injection at home 3 months later. Participants completed an interview before and after self-injection. Nurses visited participants at home following reinjection dates; during the follow-up visit, participants demonstrated self-injection on a prosthetic, injection technique was reevaluated, and a postreinjection interview was completed.

Results: Of 368 participants followed up 3 months posttraining, 88% [95% confidence interval (CI)=84-91] demonstrated injection competence, and 95% (95% CI=92-97) reinjected on time, while 87% (95% CI=84-90) were both on time and competent. Nearly all (98%) expressed a desire to continue.

Conclusions: Self-injection is feasible and highly acceptable among most study participants in Uganda.

Implications: The first research results on contraceptive self-injection in sub-Saharan Africa indicate initial feasibility and acceptability of the practice 3 months after women received one-on-one training and a highly visual training and memory aid. Results can inform self-injection programs which aim to increase women's autonomy and access to injectable contraception.

Keywords: DMPA-SC; Home and self-injection; Injectable contraception; Sayana® Press; Self-administration.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / administration & dosage*
  • Disposable Equipment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate / administration & dosage*
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Safety*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Self Administration*
  • Uganda
  • Young Adult


  • Contraceptive Agents, Female
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate