New birth control method launched

A new contraceptive technology has been introduced in the country.

The non-hormonal contraceptive known as intrauterine ball (IUB) of copper balls was introduced Tuesday at the Nairobi Hospital by a team of doctors who invented it.

The contraceptive is meant to reduce common side-effects of locally available intrauterine devices (IUDs) like heavy or prolonged menstrual periods and discomfort as well as reducing the risks incurred during insertion.

“In contrast to the IUDs, which are T-shaped, the ball has a completely symmetrical shape, meaning it cannot irritate the uterine walls,” Dr Ilan Baram, a senior gynaecologist who invented the device, explained.

ADVANTAGES
Compared to the devices used currently, which are T-shaped, the IUB is a three dimensional, 15 millimetres in diameter device formed to be compatible with the uterine cavity.

“Its unique profile will enable it serve other functions in women’s health beside contraception, such as releasing drugs into the uterus, Dr Baram said.

Dr Baram also added that the device, which is more durable, was simultaneously launched in Nairobi and South Africa, making the two countries new entrants to 19 others that are already using it.

“Already, 40,000 women are using this device. Our aim is to give women a choice of using IUDs without paying the price of heavy menstruation and pain,” he added.

“The new device will cost Sh10,000 and last for five years. It can be easily inserted by any trained health professional,” Dr Baram said, adding that the device is soft and has no sharp edges, hence it will not cause pain.”

ALTERNATIVES
IUDs have become the most common means of reversible contraception in the world, with more than 185 million users and steady growth.

To demonstrate this, the uptake of contraceptives in the country has increased by about 53 per cent, with at least six in 10 married women using one or more methods.

According to the 2014 Kenya Demographic Health Survey, the most popular modern contraceptive methods used by married women are injectables (26 per cent), implants (10 per cent), and the pill (eight per cent).

The major provider of contraceptive methods remains the public sector at 60 per cent.

A challenge is withdrawal where a number of women stop using a certain contraceptive after 12 months.

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