Govt Urged to Promote Use of IUD Contraceptive

The Jakarta Globe

Govt Urged to Promote Use of IUD Contraceptive

Medical experts on Tuesday urged the government to heavily promote the use of intrauterine contraceptive devices as they were best suited for most Indonesians.

Djajadilaga, head of family planning and abortion at the Indonesian Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology (POGI), said that IUDs were one of the most effective forms of birth control available, but were not being promoted heavily enough.

“IUDs have no contra-indications like other forms of birth control, such as the pill or injections,” he said at a discussion on the use of contraception to reduce the nation’s maternal mortality rate.

More women die as a result of childbirth in Indonesia than in any other nation in Southeast Asia. According to the Health Ministry, some 229 women died for every 100,000 births in 2009.

Some medical experts hope that a rise in birth control will reign in the nation’s maternal mortality rate.

According to Unicef statistics, only 57 percent of the nation’s women use contraception.

Todd Callahan, the country director for DKT Indonesia, a nonprofit organization that focuses on family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention, said IUDs had never gained popularity as a form of birth control here because of a lack of promotion.

“The Indonesian government has tended to promote the use of short-term birth control methods such as pills or injections,” he said at the discussion.

IUDs have a failure rate under typical-use conditions of just 0.8 percent. Condoms fail 15 percent of the time, studies have shown.

Djajadilaga said that to raise public awareness about IUDs, doctors would have to explain the benefits to patients.

“It’s very important that a doctor explains all there is to know about IUDs because there are so many different types and everyone has different needs,” he said.

“We also need to counter the myths about the pluses and minuses of IUD use, including the misconception that it causes vaginal bleeding.”

Another benefit of using IUDs, he said, was that couples using it could still conceive anytime after removing the device.

“Unlike with the pill or injections, the use of IUDs will not delay the time to conception,” he said.

Sugiri Syarief, chairman of the National Family Planning Coordinating Board (BKKBN), agreed that IUDs were the ideal form of contraception for Indonesians, not least because of their low price.

“IUDs range in price from Rp 15,000 to Rp 2 million,” he said.

“This it might appear expensive at first, but it works out much cheaper when you consider that it’s for long-term use. The government currently runs a program offering IUDs to the public at a subsidized cost of Rp 15,000.”

The lack of awareness aside, Callahan said the initial expense of buying the device and getting it fitted was one of the factors that may be putting many people off using IUDs.

“But the thing that makes IUDs appear more expensive is the [fee for the] doctor’s service, which is sometimes more expensive than the IUD itself,” Callahan said.

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