Meeting the demand of women affected by ongoing crisis: Increasing contraceptive prevalence in North and South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Casey, Sara E.; Gallagher, Meghan C.; Dumas, Erin; Kakesa, Jessica; Mumbere Katsongo, Justin; Muselemu, Jean-Baptiste

Over 20 years of conflict in the DRC, North and South Kivu have experienced cycles of stability and conflict, resulting in a compromised health system and poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes. Modern contraceptive use is low (7.5%) and maternal mortality is high (846 deaths per 100,000 live births). Program partners have supported the Ministry of Health (MOH) in North and South Kivu to provide good quality contraceptive services in public health facilities since 2011.

Cross-sectional population-based surveys were conducted in the program areas using a two-stage cluster sampling design to ensure representation in each of six rural health zones. Using MOH population estimates for villages in the catchment areas of supported health facilities, 25 clusters in each zone were selected using probability proportional to size. Within each cluster, 22 households were systematically selected, and one woman of reproductive age (15–49 years) was randomly selected from all eligible women in each household.

Modern contraceptive prevalence among women in union ranged from 8.4% to 26.7% in the six health zones; current use of long-acting or permanent method (LAPM) ranged from 2.5% to 19.8%. The majority of women (58.9% to 90.2%) reported receiving their current method for the first time at a health facility supported by the program partners. Over half of women in four health zones reported wanting to continue their method for five years or longer.

Current modern contraceptive use and LAPM use were high in these six health zones compared to DRC Demographic and Health Survey data nationally and provincially. These results were accomplished across all six health zones despite their varied socio-demographic characteristics and different experiences of conflict and displacement. These findings demonstrate that women in these conflict-affected areas want contraception and will choose to use it when good quality services are available to them.


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Population and Family Health
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July 29, 2019