February 2021. The World Health Organization just added two chapters to its Family Planning Handbook. One of them addresses contraception delivery during an epidemic.
These are some of the recommendations:
- Providers should ensure that individuals make voluntary and informed choices, and that privacy and confidentiality are respected.
- Multiple doses of emergency contraceptive pills can be provided.
- Many contraceptive methods, including emergency contraception, can be safely and effectively self-administered without a physical exam. Indiviudals can initiate and continue these methods with or without the support of a health care worker.
- During an epidemic, emergency contraceptive pills (and other methods) should be dispensed without a prescription and distributed in community outreach programs, where allowed by national regulations.
Overarching messages of this chapter are:
- Family planning services should be maintained throughout an epidemic.
- Medical eligibility criteria for safe use of contraceptive methods do not change during an epidemic.
- Some contraceptive methods can be safely and effectively self-administered, with or without support from health care providers.
- Greater use of digital health technologies may optimize access to care.