Contraceptive implants, the “ideal product” to prevent teenage pregnancies in Cuba

In the midst of a shortage of condoms and a rise in sexually transmitted diseases, the Health authorities in Santiago de Cuba announced a campaign for adolescents to get contraceptive implants.

As published this Sunday by the provincial newspaper Sierra Maestra, the suggestion seeks to “benefit girls” who are sexually active with an “ideal product” to reduce the incidence of early pregnancy. The person in charge of the Family Planning Program of Santiago de Cuba, Estrella Soler Alonso, explained that the implant is “very safe and effective”, unlike other contraceptive methods, such as the pill, which require a frequency for its effect.

Both this “subdermal” hormonal implant (under the skin) and the intrauterine device (IUD) are methods widely used in Latin America to prevent pregnancy and affordable for the majority of low-income women; however, they do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Among its benefits are that they are long-lasting and do not generate hormonal changes like pills.

Soler Alonso explained that the implant contains a hormone derived from progesterone, effective in preventing ovulation and thickening cervical mucus, which prevents sperm from entering the uterus for fertilization. This matchstick-sized device has a lifespan inside the woman’s body of five years, she added.

The official note does not explain where the devices come from, which, since they do not boast of being national technology, are likely to be imported or form part of a donation

The official note does not explain where the devices come from, which, since they do not boast of being national technology, are likely to be imported or form part of a donation.

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Medical personnel from the province’s Maternal and Child Care Program will visit schools and communities to “discuss” the “benefits of the contraceptive method” and, later, with the consent of the adolescents and their legal guardians, place the implant.

The specialist pointed out that they will identify adolescents who are part of a pre-conception reproductive risk group, since due to the insufficient maturity of the reproductive system they present complications during pregnancy or childbirth, in addition to the “unfavorable psychological and social consequences that pregnancy can cause in this stage”.

Women in vulnerable situations who for health reasons cannot use another contraceptive doctor will also be included in the campaigns, added the specialist. In addition to the centers in the communities, adolescents can receive the implant at the Armando García, Ramón López Peña and Josué País García polyclinics.

The doctor assured that 150 mg medroxyprogesterone is available in the clinics, an injectable drug that prevents pregnancy for three months, but its use is prescribed only with a prescription issued by the Family Planning unit. Similarly, aminor is sold in liberated form in pharmacies, an oral contraceptive for patients with estrogen intolerance.

Cuba has one of the highest adolescent pregnancy rates in Latin America and the Caribbean, with a fertility rate of 51.10 per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 19, according to 2018 data from the World Health Organization (WHO). ). The Government recognized last January the failure of its programs to contain this public health problem, due to the lack of contraceptive methods and sexual education.

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