Catalonia: complaints about access to EC

December 2022. In Catalonia (Spain), the Observatory of Sexual and Reproductive Rights monitors violations of sexual and reproductive rights (SRR) reported by citizens, in order to influence and transform public SRR policies and services.

According to the Observatory 2022 report, problems with access to emergency contraception (EC) are the second most common complaint received. Problems to access evidence-based EC information and services have been reported in public healthcare centers (primary care, sexual and reproductive health clinics, and hospitals), as well as in pharmacies, and even on the public health information hotline (061).

Cases include:

  • denying to provide any EC method;
  • denying to provide UPA EC pills;
  • advising not to use EC more than 3 times in a year;
  • advising not to use EC after abortion;
  • not receiving information on where to procure EC when a specific service can’t provide it;
  • requesting the assessment of a contraception specialist;
  • denying EC to women under 16.

The Catalan Health Department has recently updated its guidelines for EC provision in public healthcare units (click here to read more). Furthermore, UPA EC is now offered on the public health network too. These are important steps towards offering a more comprehensive EC service. However, as the Observatory report shows, work is still needed to ensure that up-to-date knowledge on EC provision is the standard across the board.

Denmark:  Increased use of ECPs (2017-2021)

November 2022.  The Danish Health Data Agency has recorded an increase of about 27% in the number of emergency contraception pills (ECPs) sold in the past five years: from 107.000 units sold in 2017 to 136.000 in 2021. The largest increase was registered in the Zealand Region (44%).

The Danish Broadcasting Corporation published this news, with comments from representatives of Sex og Samfund and the Danish Society for Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Both agree that this increase reflects that women are increasingly aware of methods to prevent pregnancy, and more responsible. This increase may be related to the decrease in use of regular oral contraceptives, and the fact that some women started using ECPs as their main contraceptive method for a period of time.

“It is not irresponsible. It is rather responsible, because you act conscientiously and avoid a pregnancy.” Chairman of the Danish Society for Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Sex og Samfund also mentions that, although the fortrydelsespiller (the “regret pill”, as it is casually called in Danish) is a good alternative in case of unprotected sex or an accident with the regular method, using an ongoing method is always recommended.

Impact of banning EC ads in method awareness

November 2022.  An article recently published in the German edition of Glamour points at an important element in EC knowledge and use in many countries:  the ban on EC advertising in media outlets, and how it contributes to the low knowledge of this contraceptive method.
“I was unprepared for everything I had to endure that morning at the pharmacy. Because in Germany there is an advertising ban for the morning-after pill. So there is no way to find out about this very important drug that enables women to exercise their right to physical self-determination. As a result, every fourth woman in Germany is not even aware that the morning-after pill can be used to prevent an unwanted pregnancy if there is a contraceptive failure. Furthermore, 50 percent of women do not know that the morning-after pill is available in pharmacies without a prescription.”
The article is available on Glamour’s website:

EC101 at the International Conference of Family Planning

November 2022.  The International Conference on Family Planning, the world’s largest gathering on family planning and reproductive health, took place in Thailand on 14-17 November 2022. ECEC is proud to have participated in the organization of one segment of the Live Community Programming, that revised the basics of emergency contraception.

The segment, called “Emergency contraception 101”, can be view here.

 

Ready When She Is: Investing in On-Demand Contraception

October 2022.  A portion of sexually active women do not use contraception, because they do not have sex frequently. The on-demand use of levonorgestrel 1,5 mg pills is being studied, and could expand the choice of contraceptives for those who have infrequent sex and thus, do not want to use a regular method, but do not want to get pregnant.

The ReadyWhenSheIs movement has been recently established by PSI and partners, to advocate for the development of on-demand and women-controlled contraceptive options.

Although unrecognized and highly stigmatized, on-demand use of ECPs is already a reality in Europe. Data is very scarce, but some studies in Nordic countries identified that up to 50% of EC users, have used EC pills at more than once in their life time.1

The ReadyWhenSheIs movements targets mainly the estimated 150 million sexually active women in low- and middle-income countries that report having infrequent sex and not using contraception. However, exploring how to better respond to the needs of this population is also  a relevant issue for women in Europe.

Visit the ReadyWhenSheIs webiste to learn more and join this movement: https://www.psi.org/project/rwsi-home/

 

1 Guleria, S., Munk, C., Elfström, K., Hansen, B., Sundström, K., & Liaw, K. et al. (2020). Emergency contraceptive pill use among women in Denmark, Norway and Sweden: Population‐based survey. Acta Obstetricia Et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 99(9), 1214-1221. doi: 10.1111/aogs.13849. Retrived 23 November 2021, from https://obgyn.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/aogs.13849 

Stable rate of EC’ use in Spain

October 2022. The Spanish Society of Contraception (SEC) just published the findings of the Contraception in Spain 2022 Survey (“Anticoncepcion en España 2022”).  With this survey SEC aims to strengthen the knowledge on the female population’s habits with regards to contraceptive methods use in Spain. The survey was conducted between July 21 and August 17, 2022 among 1.800 women aged 15 to 49 throughout Spain.

According to the survey findings 31,4% of the surveyed population have ever used emergency contraception. This rate is very similar to the last one recorded by the SEC (30% in 2018).  You can read the survey findings at https://sec.es/la-sec-presenta-la-encuesta-sobre-la-anticoncepcion-en-espana-2022/  and here. To learn more about access to emergency contraception in Spain visit our country page.

 

France: free EC pills for all women

September 2022. The French Minister of Health, François Braun, announced that emergency contraception pills (ECPs) will be free for all women regardless of their age, in pharmacies and without a prescription. Read more here. ECPs are provided free of cost to women under 18 since 2013; this measure was extended to women up to the age of 25 a while ago, but a prescription was required. This new policy will remove financial and administrative barriers to all women, of any age, and is expected to be implemented in 2023.

The news have triggered discussions in neighboring countries, like in the Netherlands, where past political efforts to reimburse contraception have not succeed. Read more here in English and here in Dutch.

Luxembourg: webinar Macontraception

September 2022.

FRENCH: Le 26 septembre (Journée mondiale de la contraception), le Centre national de référence pour la promotion de la santé affective et sexuelle (CESAS) du Luxembourg, organise le webinaire macontraception.lu. L’ECEC est heureuse de participer avec une présentation sur les progrès réalisés et les défis restants pour l’accès à la contraception d’urgence en Europe.  Retrouvez le programme complet du webinaire et la page d’inscription ici : https://my.weezevent.com/colloque-contraception

Marquez vos calendriers! Nous espérons que vous l’apprécierez.

ENGLISH: On September 26th, on World Contraception Day, the Centre national de référence pour la promotion de la santé affective et sexuelle (CESAS) of Luxembourg, is organizing the webinar macontraception.lu

ECEC is happy to participate with a presentation on the progress made and remaining challenges for emergency contraception access in Europe.  Please find the full webinar program and registration page here:  https://my.weezevent.com/colloque-contraception

Mark your calendars!

“Let’s talk about emergency contraception: Strategies to scale up access” 

August 2022. The Asia Pacific and the European EC consortia (APCEC and ECEC) are organizing a casual gathering within FIAPAC’s upcoming conference, to talk about emergency contraception (EC). 

Please join us for lunch at the 14th FIAPAC Conference in Riga, on September 10th for a conversation on how to scale up access to emergency contraception (EC)  and how can regional EC consortia contribute to:  

  • Improving access to timely, rights- and evidence-based EC information 
  • Facilitating information sharing to learn from each other’s efforts to put EC into women’s hands 
  • Linking stakeholders and pooling our collective expertise

This lunchtime session will be facilitated by Deborah Bateson and Angela Dawson (APCEC) and Tina Puig (ECEC). 

On September 10th, from 12h45 to 13h45, grab your lunch and meet us at the Senats Hall. Be part of this conversation, in which we all are experts. We look forward to seeing you there.

APCEC & ECEC

 

 

Catalonia: new EC provision protocol for public health services

July 2022. The Catalan Health Department just published a new protocol for emergency contraception (EC) provision in public health services. The protocol now includes LNG and UPA EC pills, and also the insertion of the Cu-IUD.

According to data estimates included in the document, in Catalonia in 2020 about 89% of EC pills were sold directly in pharmacies, while only 11% were provided in public health facilities (primary care units, sexual and reproductive health clinics, and emergency rooms).  In 2020, the demand of EC pills in the public health system decreased by 57%, compared to the previous, prepandemic, year.

As an innovative measure, patients will be given a voucher for a fast-tracked visit to a reproductive health clinic, for follow up and contraceptive counseling, in order to promote the uptake of more effective contraceptive methods.

The protocol and related publications, can be downloaded form the Health Department website here, and also here.