Contraception with combined oral contraceptive pills in Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Background: Millions of women worldwide use the combined oral contraceptive pill (COCP) as an effective form of contraception. This has contributed immensely to population control and improvement of maternal wellbeing.
Aim: To determine the acceptability, efficacy and side effect of COCP in Port Harcourt and compare with the experience elsewhere.
Methods: This was a retrospective study of all clients who accepted COCP between 1st January 1997, and 31st December 2006 at the Family Planning Clinic of University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH). Information obtained included sociodemographic characteristics, side effects, reasons for discontinuing the method and source of information.
Results: A total of 4,160 clients accepted contraception during the study period, out of which 360 used COCP, giving a prevalence rate of 8.7%. The mean age and parity of acceptors were 27.14 ± 4.68 years and 1.82±0.45 respectively. Among the clients, 99.4% had formal education while 66.1% were single and 49.7%% were students. Prevalent side effects were menstrual disruptions (47.9%), weight gain (33.7%), hypertension and headaches (5.4% each) amongst others. The common reasons for discontinuing COCP were weight gain (28.6%), menstrual disruptions (28.5%) and non-compliance (14.2%). Mass media was the commonest source of information, and one accidental pregnancy occurred (Pearl index 0.03 per 100 woman years).
Conclusion: This study shows that combined oral contraceptives pills appear to be acceptable, safe and effective in Port Harcourt. This compares to world wide experience. Concerted effort should be made in improving information dissemination on COCP especially amongst students and single clients.