Expanding Contraceptive Options for Postpartum Women in Ethiopia: Introducing the Postpartum IUD

Provision of voluntary contraceptive services during the postpartum period enables women and couples to avoid unintended pregnancy and yields positive health dividends for both the mother and newborn. Until recently, the copper-bearing IUD was the only long-acting, reversible contraceptive method recommended for use by breastfeeding women, making it an important option for postpartum family planning (PPFP). Yet, in Ethiopia’s public health sector, the postpartum IUD (PPIUD) has been nearly absent from the contraceptive method mix, inhibiting full and informed contraceptive access and choice.

Since 2013, the Integrated Family Health Program (IFHP+) has been working with the government of Ethiopia to introduce and expand access to PPFP (including PPIUD) services in the public sector. This technical brief explores: the process through which IFHP+ has expanded availability of PPFP, including the PPIUD, in Ethiopia; the challenges encountered and lessons learned throughout this process; and the profile of a typical PPIUD acceptor in IFHP+’s sample of clients in order to inform future interventions. IFHP+ is funded by E2A, and is jointly implemented by Pathfinder and John Snow, Inc.