Objectives: Expanding contraceptive options through self-injection may improve access and confidentiality. There are few published studies on contraceptive self-injection in sub-Saharan Africa and none in West Africa, a region with high unmet need. This study was performed to assess feasibility of subcutaneous DMPA self-injection in Senegal; objectives were to (1) measure the proportion of participants who self-injected competently 3 months after training, (2) measure the proportion who self-injected on time (defined conservatively as within 7 days of reinjection date), and (3) assess acceptability of self-injection.
Study design: In this prospective cohort study, 378 women aged 18-49 years were trained to self-inject by study nurses. Three months later, women returned unprompted to the clinic to self-inject, and technique and visit timing were evaluated. Women continuing with a third self-injection were followed up at home after their next scheduled injection date. At each interaction, participants were interviewed to learn about their experience; additional questions during the final home visit focused on storage and disposal practices, and acceptability.
Results: Among the 337 participants followed up 3 months post-training, 310 self-injected, and 87% did so competently. Factoring in women who declined to self-inject, electing to have the provider administer the injection instead, a total of 80% [95% confidence interval (CI)=75-84%] self-injected competently 3 months post-training, and 84% [95% CI=80-88%] reinjected on time, while 72% [95% CI=67-77%] were both on time and competent. The vast majority (93%) expressed a desire to continue.
Conclusions: Self-injection is feasible and acceptable among most study participants in Senegal.
Implications: These first research results on contraceptive self-injection in West Africa indicate initial feasibility and acceptability of the practice. Results underscore the importance of designing self-injection programs that empower and support women, including those with limited education.
Keywords: DMPA-SC; Family planning; Home and self-injection; Injectable contraception; Sayana® Press; Self-administration.
Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.