Individuals’ ability to access and effectively use family planning services is time-sensitive, because incorrect or delayed contraceptive use greatly reduces effectiveness. In providing family planning services during an epidemic, providers should:
- Screen clients for symptoms of the epidemic disease and—if symptoms are present—manage or refer the client in accordance with local protocols.
- Protect their own and their client’s safety during interactions by following rules of infection prevention appropriate to the type of epidemic, including sanitizing equipment and rooms using the correct protocols (see Chapter 26 – Family Planning Provision, section on Infection Prevention in the Clinic).
- Ensure that the client makes a voluntary and informed method choice, and that privacy and confidentiality are respected.
- Provide the full range of methods when resources and circumstances permit, but be open about what is not available, and when additional methods may become available. Offer the client a “bridging” method if their method of choice is not available.
- Provide multi-month supplies of oral contraceptives and subcutaneous depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA-SC) for self-injection, and multiple doses of emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs), as needed, to cover a longer duration of use.
- Discuss and counsel on IUDs (see Chapter 10 and Chapter 11) and implants (see Chapter 9) that may be effective beyond the labelled duration of use.