Evaluating the feasibility and acceptability of self-injection of subcutaneous depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) in Senegal: a prospective cohort study

Contraception. 2017 Sep;96(3):203-210. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2017.06.010. Epub 2017 Jun 30.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / administration & dosage*
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / therapeutic use
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate / administration & dosage*
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Self Administration*
  • Senegal
  • Young Adult


  • Contraceptive Agents, Female
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate