Number of first-time users of modern contraception

The number of persons who accept for the first time in their lives any (program) contraceptive method; to be reported for a defined reference period (e.g., one year).


Counts of persons accepting any (program) method for the first time in their lives during a one-year period


Service statistics

Evaluators can obtain this indicator from survey data as well (e.g., from the "calendar" used in the DHS or other data collection tools for obtaining contraceptive histories retrospectively). Moreover, surveys allow one to include non-program methods. However, surveys are rarely used to produce data on first-time users, and total current use rather than "new use" is likely to be of greater interest to those interpreting the data.

Program personnel (including evaluation staff) can disaggregate service statistics by key variables (age, sex, parity, place of residence, ethnicity, or other factors judged relevant in the country context) to obtain a sociodemographic profile of the client population. This information is useful in tracking changes in the composition of the client population over time and in determining whether programs intended to reach certain subgroups are effectively doing so.


This indicator measures the ability of the program to attract new clients from an untapped segment of the population to its services. The measure eliminates the problem of counting as "first-time users" those clients who switch from one source to another for reasons of convenience or cost. As an indicator, it may also reflect the success of special communication programs or other interventions (e.g., social marketing projects) aimed at increasing service utilization among those previously missed by the program. However, in this latter case, one must be mindful that some of the first-time users might have obtained the same or another method from an alternate source (e.g., the unsubsidized pharmacy sector) if the special intervention had not taken place.

"Program method" refers to methods made available through established family planning programs: pill, IUD, implant, injection, condom (male and female), spermicides/foam/jelly, diaphragm, tubal ligation, sterilization (male and female), vaginal ring, patch, sponge, and lactational amenorrhea method (LAM), if used under program supervision. Thus, a young woman who formerly obtained condoms from the pharmacy is not a first-time user. By contrast, a client who to date has depended on withdrawal is a first-time user, because withdrawal is not a program method.

The Number of first-time users of modern contraception, defined as first-time use in the life of the individual, reduces the ambiguity associated with the more general term "new acceptor" and avoids a duplication of cases that may result when substitution occurs.


long-acting/permanent methods (LAPM), family planning