Using a Patient-Held Record System to Examine Family Planning Uptake, Continuation of Use, and Method/Provider-Switching in Rural Karonga
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Author(s): Dasgupta ANZ, Dube A, Gondwe L, Ngwalo R, Ngwira B, Taulo F, Branson K, Zaba B, Crampin AC
This study in northern rural Malawi used an innovative method for collecting family planning (FP) data using patient-held records capturing provider data to build a prospective longitudinal data set that allows exploration of continuity of use and provider/method-switching, and can be linked to a health and demographic surveillance site (HDSS) database. To outline the method briefly: all 8,176 women aged 15-49 living in the Karonga HDSS were offered an FP card. When a woman accessed a FP service, the health provider recorded on her FP card the date, method received (or advice given), and provider type. After one year, the FP cards were collected by KPS for data entry, linkage to the HDSS database, and analysis.
Although 42% of married women report using FP in Malawi as a whole, this study found that 62% of women in the study had used some method of FP at some stage over the study year. However, this figure does not reflect the fact that many of these women might be using FP haphazardly and inconsistently. Our findings demonstrate the importance of community-based distribution of FP.
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