Re-posted from Business World Online

DAVAO CITY — The City Health Office (CHO) is eyeing the poor residents on the list of the Listahanan or the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction as beneficiaries of Implanon, a new contraceptive that will prevent pregnancy for up to three years.

Implanon was recently introduced in the Philippines but it has been used in the United Kingdom for almost 10 years,” said Dr. Samuel G. Cruz, assistant city health officer. Up to 95% of doctors from the CHO have been trained on Implanon last December.

Mr. Cruz said this contraceptive is easily done by injecting a matchstick-size rod to a woman’s non-dominant arm. The rod contains 68 milligrams of the steroidal progestin etonogestrel that prevents pregnancy.

Implanon prevents pregnancy through the following methods: by preventing the release of an egg from the ovary, changing the uterus lining and changing the environment of a woman’s cervix to prevent the sperm from reaching the egg. It is one of several family planning methods now being given for free by the city government to residents. Others include vasectomy and tubal ligation.

Jeff Fuentes, officer-in-charge for CHO’s population division, however, said the major cause of the city’s population growth is not high birth rate but migration. He also clarified that the use of these contraceptive methods is primarily aimed at addressing maternal death. “(The Implanon) implant has a failure rate of less than 1%, making it a very effective contraceptive,” Mr. Cruz said.

However, he said the couple should still use protection for at least a week after the implant is injected.

He said this is ideal for couples who have not yet decided whether or not they want a permanent family planning method such as vasectomy. With three to five years as the ideal birth spacing for couples, the three-year efficacy period of Implanon is indeed a good method.

Mr. Fuentes said Implanon is safe and has been studied and certified by the World Health Organization. — Carmencita A. Carillo