This toolkit on mainstreaming emergency contraception in developing countries has been developed in response to one of the objectives of the 2006 initiative that sought to generate lessons that could serve as a model for other countries interested in improving access to EC, and to generate in-depth knowledge on EC program strategies and utilization characteristics in sub-Saharan Africa.
As has been pointed out in many publications, including those produced by the International Consortium on Emergency Contraception (ICEC), for many women, emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) offer an opportunity to prevent unintended pregnancy following unprotected sex and contraceptive method failure. ECPs are also given as primary prevention of unintended pregnancy in case of rape. Hence, timely access to this safe, effective option remains an essential element of women‘s quality reproductive healthcare.
The primary target groups for the toolkit are policymakers and health care providers. It can also serve as a resource for trainers (for both pre-service and in-service students), researchers, RH program managers, and technical advisors who organize or facilitate training events and advocacy workshops for emergency contraception activities, advocates, lay community members, media, and donors. The toolkit can be used in countries where ECPs are not currently available, as well as in contexts where the intention is to expand or mainstream access to existing ECP services. The toolkit is generic and could be adapted by countries, institutions, and individual health care providers wishing to mainstream emergency contraception services in their respective settings.
The toolkit is divided into eight sections:
- Section A provides the conceptual framework on mainstreaming of emergency contraception activities within the public and private sectors.
- Section B addresses justification and guiding principles.
- Section C focuses on purpose and steps involved in mainstreaming EC.
- Section D outlines the institutional framework required to successfully mainstream EC activities.
- Section E discusses effective management of EC logistics.
- Section F addresses supervision and monitoring activities.
- Section G focuses on key programmatic considerations; and
- Section H contains appendices, which are the main products of the EC mainstreaming work.