Emergency Contraception, though a method known for many decades, has been reintroduced
in the new millennium in an effort to provide post-coital contraception and reduce
the rate of unwanted pregnancies and abortions.
To introduce the method effectively, awareness and training of providers is as
important as the client awareness. The study was conducted to assess the level
of existing knowledge of the health personnel regarding EC.
A survey was conducted among 140 providers, 50 of
these were from RGKMC (Medical : 31, Paramedical : 19) and 90 from the 24 PGS(N)
district (Medical : 33, Paramedical : 57). The subjects were interviewed with
the help of a standard questionnaire.
Male preponderence (75%) in Medicals and female
preponderence (75%) in Paramedicals was seen. Most (39.1%) medical providers had
experience of 11-20 years, whereas 48.7% of paramedicals had experience of more
than 20 years.
It is evident from the data that most health providers, medical and paramedical
personnel, with the exception of gynaecologists, lack awareness and accurate knowledge
regarding emergency contraception (Table 1). It is, therefore, imperative that
training programmes are organised for the providers to update their knowledge
about the methods available for EC and their correct usage.
The views on availability of EC to the general public were divided. About 51%
of doctors suggested that EC should be available only on prescription, although
almost the same number of medical staff thought that EC should be freely accessible
without a prescription. Overall 51.7% of healthcare providers were uncertain about
mode of availability of EC (Table 2).