Contraceptive Method Switching clinical trials at UCSD
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The study investigators propose to test various supply-side approaches to increase the numbers of both SARCs (short-acting reversible contraceptives, i.e. the pill and injectable) and especially LARCs (long-acting reversible contraceptives, i.e. the IUD and implant) administered by health facilities to reproductive-age females in Cameroon, particularly adolescents who may be unmarried and/or nulliparous. The study investigators will do this via interventions at primary health facilities, which include training of providers on family planning; the introduction of a tablet-based decision support tool for counseling women on family planning; and increased subsidies for LARCs within the performance-based financing (PBF) system. This approach is expected to benefit the population directly by decreasing maternal mortality and undesired pregnancies and indirectly by reducing side effects that arise due to current one-size-fits-all FP (family planning) counseling; improving the health of children due to improved birth spacing; and increasing human capital accumulation among children and young (often school-age) potential mothers.
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Cameroon exhibits a high and non-decreasing level of maternal mortality (roughly 600 per 100,000 live births), partially related to its relatively high total fertility rate (roughly 4.6). Survey evidence furthermore suggests that a significant fraction of these pregnancies is unwanted or considered mistimed by the mother, especially among females aged 15-19. Despite this, the rate of utilization of family planning (FP) is low: e.g. only 48% of sexually active unmarried women use any form of (modern) contraception, or MC, and even then, it is primarily condoms. The use of LARCs (long-acting reversible contraceptives, i.e. the IUD and implant) is less than 1% according to the most recent Demographic Health Survey. The study investigators propose to use an integrated behavioral science approach to increase the take-up of both SARCs (short-acting reversible contraceptives, i.e. the pill and injectable) and especially LARCs among reproductive-age females in Cameroon, including adolescents who may be unmarried and/or nulliparous. In addition to decreasing maternal mortality and undesired pregnancies, indirect effects for the community will include: increased welfare from reduced side effects that arise due to current one-size-fits-all FP counseling; healthier children due to improved birth spacing; and increased human capital formation both for children and for young (often school-aged) potential mothers. The study investigators propose to conduct the study at HGOPY for a duration of 12 months. The study investigators will provide tablets to each of five nurses that conduct FP counseling to participants at the hospital. The tablets contain a counseling "app" (or decision-support tool or a job-aid) that was jointly developed by professionals from HGOPY, the World Bank, and the Ministry of Health. The study investigators propose an individually-randomized experiment, where the participants will be offered randomly varying discounts for the modern contraceptive methods they wish to adopt. The study investigators also propose to experiment with certain aspects of the "app" to improve its effectiveness - both for the participant and for the nurse. More details on the experimental design are provided below.