ECAF project

Provider Attitudes to Emergency Contraception in Ghana and Burkina Faso

Susannah Mayhew  By the same author

      Ivy Osei  By the same author

      Nathalie Bajos  By the same author


There are few studies in sub-Saharan Africa on providers’ attitudes and delivery practices regarding emergency contraception (EC), though they could provide an important component of contraceptive programmes there. Thirty-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of reproductive health service providers in Ghana and Burkina Faso as part of the Emergency Contraception in Africa study (ECAF) conducted in 2006-2007. A typology of provider-responses was constructed using two dimensions reflecting providers’ “acceptance” and “provision” of EC. Provider attitudes broadly favoured EC, although most in Burkina Faso were cautious about providing it (fearing that regular use might displace condom use, thus increasing HIV risk), while in Ghana, many highlighted useful role of EC in reducing unwanted pregnancy. Overall, respondents wanted to limit distribution to health facilities and pharmacies and were reactive, rather than proactive, EC providers. Their attitude towards people seeking emergency contraception varied: those suffering contraceptive method failure or provider failure were seen as deserving, while those who came because they had used their contraceptive method incorrectly or not used one at all were regarded less favourably.