Ensuring sufficient service capacity for removals of long-acting reversible contraceptives: a mixed-method study of provider experiences in Senegal

Gates Open Res. 2022 Apr 8:6:46. doi: 10.12688/gatesopenres.13600.1. eCollection 2022.


Background: As the number of implants and intrauterine devices (IUD) used in sub-Saharan Africa continues to grow, ensuring sufficient service capacity for removals is critical. This study describes public sector providers' experiences with implant and IUD removals in two districts of Senegal. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study with providers trained to insert implants and IUDs from all public facilities offering long-acting reversible contraceptives. Data collection elements included a survey with 55 providers and in-depth interviews (IDIs) with eight other providers. We performed descriptive analysis of survey responses and analyzed qualitative data thematically. Results: Nearly all providers surveyed were trained in both implant and IUD insertion and removal; 42% had received training in the last two years. Over 90% of providers felt confident inserting and removing implants and removing IUDs; 15% were not confident removing non-palpable implants and 27% IUDs with non-visible strings. Challenges causing providers to refer clients or postpone removals include lack of consumables (38%) for implants, and short duration of use for implants (35%) and IUDs (20%). Many providers reported counseling clients presenting for removals to keep their method (58% implant, 31% IUD), primarily to attempt managing side effects. Among providers with removal experience, 78% had ever received a removal client with a deeply-placed implant and 33% with an IUD with non-visible strings. Qualitative findings noted that providers were willing to remove implants and IUDs before their expiration date but first attempted treatment or counseling to manage side effects. Providers reported lack of equipment and supplies as challenges, and mixed success with difficult removals. Conclusions: Findings on provider capacity to perform insertions and regular removals are positive overall. Potential areas for improvement include availability of equipment and supplies, strengthening of counseling on side effects, and support for managing difficult removals.

Keywords: LARC removal; Long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC); Senegal; contraception; contraceptive implant; family planning; intrauterine device (IUD); sub-Saharan Africa.

Grants and funding

This work was supported in whole by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation [INV-010614]. Under the grant conditions of the Foundation, a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Generic License has already been assigned to the Author Accepted Manuscript version that might arise from this submission.