Updated 25 February 2015

Free under-the-skin contraceptive for all SA women

South African health minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced that a small under-the-skin contraceptive device would be made available free of charge to all SA women.


In 2014 Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced a small under-the-skin contraceptive which would be made available to all women free of charge. He described it as "the biggest family planning programme South Africa has ever seen"

The tiny sub-dermal contraceptive device, about the size of a match, would be available to women at public hospitals around the country.

More on the device

The device, which had to be inserted by a medical professional under the skin of the upper arm, conferred protection from pregnancy for three years.

"This device costs R1 700 if you go to a private doctor. But, would be free of charge to every woman in South Africa, regardless of her socio-economic status.

Read: Contraceptive gel  looks promising

Advantage of the device

The advantage of the device over contraceptive injections – which could take up to 12 months for the effects to wear off – is that users of the sub-dermal implant could become pregnant within weeks of its removal.

Motsoaledi said in a statement that it offered women more freedom.

"It gives women freedom to control their own lives. It can be taken out any time and if they want to [fall pregnant], it only takes few weeks to conceive."

Some nurses had undergone training on how to properly insert the implant, and 4 000 more were set to do so, he said.

Read more:

Contraception – now and then

Different types of contraceptives

Better contraception needed



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