In Jordan, 61 percent of couples practice some form of family planning. Of those, 42 percent use a reliable modern method such as condoms or oral contraceptives. However, modern method usage rates have not increased in Jordan for several years. Also, women often abandon some modern methods due to concerns and misunderstandings about potential health effects.
To address these issues, the Abt Associates-led, USAID-funded Strengthening Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) project in Jordan launched a campaign focused on increasing use of one method of modern family planning -- intrauterine devices (IUD).
But how much can a multi-media campaign sustainably boost Jordanian’s use of modern family planning methods?
In Jordan approximately one-fifth of women on birth control use IUDs, making it the most popular form of modern contraception. However, discontinuation rates for IUDs are high. Of all women who use modern methods, 30.7 percent started and stopped using IUDs. Of women who use traditional methods, 70.5 percent discontinued IUD use.
IUDs are small, T-shaped devices inserted into a uterus by a physician in just a few minutes. The uterus reacts to the IUD’s copper coating by producing fluids that are toxic to sperm. The device has no side effects and is easily reversible.
SHOPS is holding a number of public presentations on IUDs in Jordan as part of a larger national family planning campaign. The events are expected to reach at least 6,000 women while a series of television ads should reach many more. Those who attend an event are eligible to receive free consultations and family planning service vouchers.
The objective of the IUD campaign is to inform the public that the device is a safe, long-acting, and reversible contraceptive method for couples who want to space their children and plan their family size. A similar prior campaign to promote oral contraceptives achieved a significant decrease in discontinuation of oral contraceptives and a 30 percent increase in sales of oral contraceptives.
“The campaign is informing women that they can be safely protected against pregnancy when using the IUD and that they can get pregnant again, at a timing of their choice, when they stop using the IUD,” said Dr. Ihsan Nuaimat, a prominent obstetrician/gynecologist in Jordan. “I strongly endorse the use of the IUD for child spacing for the sake of mother and child health and for family planning in general.”
The SHOPS campaign is highlighting major IUD providers, including the Ministry of Health, private physicians, the Jordanian Association for Family Planning and Protection, and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (for Palestinian refugees).
The women who attended the IUD event reacted with curiosity and enthusiasm, said SHOPS Jordan Communication Manager Nisreen El Tell.
“For many, this was the first time they attended a community activity. The topic of IUD by itself was new to many women, but this did not stop them from participating in a one way or another as they showered doctors and community health workers with questions,” El Tell said.
The IUD campaign was expected to run from June through September, with a break during Ramadan. A second phase is planned for later in the year. The campaign includes creative television and radio ads, highly interactive women’s presentations, extensive placement of health care providers and family planning champions on TV and radio talk shows, editorials and print ads in leading newspapers and magazines, and a variety of other print materials distributed through women’s health service and other partners.