An elated Ntulinkazi Mbatha, a 24 year from Tembisa, was one of the first women in South African to receive a contraceptive implant placed inside the skin of her upper arm. The new device is part of a family planning initiative recently launched by the Department of Health. How to Double Up: Methods to Prevent HIV, STIs and Pregnancy
The implant was launched in South Africa in February 2014. The implant offers contraceptive protection for three years. If the woman decides she wants a baby, it is removed and she can conceive within a month.
"I find the implant liberating because I don't have to visit the clinic regularly for my contraception and it is painless. It gives us as women a chance to plan for our future children", said Mbatha.
The Department of Health is offering the implant to women and girls at clinics throughout the country. While it prevents pregnancy, it does not protect against HIV and sexually transmitted diseases. Women have to use Dual Protection: condoms as well as a contraceptive such as the implant, injections, or the pill.
Mbatha, a Department of Health administrator, is passionate about women's health. She wants to see community mobilisation to educate women about sexual health. "Most people think that if you use a contraceptive you may not have kids in future and I believe this is just a myth. I was married recently, and my husband and I are definitely planning to start a family. This way we can have our kids when we are ready and know that we are healthy."
Family Planning is available at all government clinics. To find your nearest clinic, visit www.healthsites.org.za.