December 10, 2018
By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
In the wake of increasing number of unprotected sex across the country, Marie Stopes Sierra Leone has responded with a new twist on family planning and over the weekend launched the ‘Back Up’ pills that would prevent unwanted pregnancies.
According to Country Director Dr. Ufuoma Festus Omo-Obi, the Levonorgestrel pills called progestins are female sex hormones that are used in birth control and often in combination with the hormone estrogen.
“Levonorgestrel is a progestin-only emergency birth control pill intended for use within 72 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse. It is intended for use only by those women whose regular birth control methods have failed or who may have had intercourse without birth control. It is not a substitute for correct use of regular birth control,” he said.
He told newsmen that the medication was not only believed to prevent pregnancy primarily by delaying ovulation or preventing fertilisation of the egg, but also prevents implantation of the egg by altering the endomentrium (inner lining of uterus).
Dr. Omo-Obi noted that when implantation occurred and pregnancy is established, the pills cannot cause abortion or harm the foetus as there have been no serious complications reported from the use of the medication.
He noted that the medication would be most effective if used within the first 24 hours after unprotected intercourse, adding that it does not protect against HIV or other sexually transmitted infections.
“As reliable as contraception, there are at times when birth control doesn’t work. Like occasionally, when we use a method incorrectly or on a rare occasion when the condom breaks. And sometimes-especially when partying, we forget to use anything at all…emergency contraception now! Back-Up is perfect for an easy gift,” he said jokingly.
Responding to a question posed by this reporter on the side effect of the pills, Integrated Marketing Director, Pharm Kunle Dehinsilu said it would disturb a woman’s menstrual cycle if taken frequently.
Marie Stopes Sierra Leone is the country’s largest family planning organisation with teams working in every one of the country’s 14 districts and providing more than half of all contraceptives.