Self-administered subcutaneous depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA-SC) is poised to increase access to contraception; however, governments are concerned about the waste management of used units. Self-injectors in Malawi and Uganda are currently instructed to store used units in containers and return them to health workers for disposal. However, this may not be feasible in low-resource settings, especially for younger or covert self-injectors. We describe adolescent (15–19 years) and adult (20–49 years) self-injectors’ disposal experiences in Uganda and Malawi. When possible, we compare covert and overt users’ experiences.
To describe women’s experiences with subcutaneous depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA-SC) to inform scale-up of self-administered DMPA-SC. We conducted a 12-month randomized controlled trial in Malawi to measure DMPA-SC continuation rates. A total of 731 women presenting at six Ministry of Health clinics or to community health workers (CHWs) in rural communities were randomized to receive DMPA-SC administered by a provider or be trained to self-inject DMPA-SC. Data collectors contacted women after the reinjection window at 3, 6 and 9 months to collect data on satisfaction and use; self-injectors were also queried about storage and disposal of DMPA-SC. We compared frequencies of injection experiences and satisfaction by study group and over time.
As low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) consider adding self-administration of subcutaneous depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA-SC) to their contraceptive method mix, learning about family planning clients’ and providers’ experiences with self-injectable DMPA-SC during trials will inform introduction and scale-up efforts. We conducted semistructured interviews with 30 randomly selected adult women enrolled in the self-administration group of a 12-month randomized controlled trial studying DMPA-SC continuation rates in rural Malawi. We asked about their experiences learning to self-inject, self-injecting, remembering when to reinject, and storing and disposing of DMPA-SC. We also interviewed 12 providers — clinic-based providers (CBPs) and community-based health surveillance assistants (HSAs) — who trained clients to self-inject DMPA-SC during the trial. We asked about their experiences training and supporting women to self-inject DMPA-SC during the trial and their recommendations for scale-up of self-administered DMPA-SC.