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Emergency contraception in post-conflict Somalia: Assessing awareness and perceptions of need

Faduma Gure, HBSc, MSc Candidate, University of Ottawa

Project abstract

Somalia is one of the only 22 countries in the world without a dedicated progestin-only emergency contraceptive pill. Following nearly two decades of civil war, the country continues to grapple with the effects of a national health system crippled during years of conflict. Somalia's high fertility and maternal mortality ratio, low contraceptive prevalence rate as well as its restrictive abortion laws demonstrate the need to aggressively address the lack of family planning services available.

In crisis and conflict/post-conflict settings such as Somalia, emergency contraception has the potential to serve as a much needed “first chance” for women to prevent pregnancy after unprotected or underprotected sex. However, a review of the literature highlights the dearth of information available regarding emergency contraception in the Somali context. This study aims to explore levels of awareness and perceptions of need of emergency contraception among different Somali stakeholders.

This multi-methods study is comprised of semi-structured interviews with key informants in Mogadishu, structured in-person interviews with retail pharmacists, and focus group discussions with married and unmarried Somali women. Key informants and pharmacists will be purposively sampled, and women for the focus group discussions will be recruited through a partner non-governmental organization. I will conduct a content and thematic analysis of key informant interviews and focus group discussions, and will field code pharmacist interviews.

Results from this study promise to inform future policies and interventions pertaining to emergency contraception in Somalia.

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