MHO reopens access to subdermal contraceptive implants

by Maria Primitiva Felicita Q. Soledad

The Los Baños Municipal Health Office (MHO) held its quarterly Progestin Subdermal Implant program at the Regional Health Unit 1 (RHU1) activity area on November 22.

It was facilitated with the help of healthcare workers across the province of Laguna to provide free contraceptives for women in Los Baños.

According to the National Institutes of Health, progestin subdermal implant involves inserting a small rod just below the skin of the upper arm which releases a synthetic form of the hormone progestin and can serve as a form of contraceptive for up to three years.

Initially launched in 2015, the program was consistently managed by LBMHO every three months for the past eight years as they disseminate information online, list and screen interested participants, schedule the activity, and get in touch with trained healthcare workers that would perform the insertion of the implant on patients.

“Women with no plans of having a child yet can participate in the program, except for those who have a history of heart disease, goiter, or cysts. Those who are twenty-one years old above are preferred but minors with parental consent can participate as well,” said Minda Mariano, resident midwife of RHU1 and one of the main coordinators of the program.

When asked what other services can be expected from the program aside from the implant itself, Mariano said that a lecture about the progestin implant was conducted to inform the participants about its possible side effects and how to manage the healing process after insertion. An interview and screening process was also incorporated to make sure that pregnant women are excluded from the program, along with those who do not meet the specific health criteria.

Meanwhile, plans to improve the program for its future iterations include better information dissemination about the specifics of this initiative through both online and offline methods. This would be done through managing more active social media pages and going house-to- house at the barangay-level to inform citizens about the existence of the initiative.

Other family planning options managed by LBMHO are birth control pills, tubal ligation, intrauterine device, vasectomy, and depo-provera injectables. As of now, they can be contacted through the Los Baños Municipal Health Office facebook page for more information regarding these initiatives.

“The side effects are usually minimal and vary from person to person but most of them experience spotting or lack of menstruation altogether, while some may complain about headaches. Still, we make sure to check if they are on another form of hormonal contraceptive which can cause these headaches like the Depo-Provera injectable since it is not advisable to use these two together,” she added.

Physical manifestations of side effects like weight loss may also be observed but Mariano emphasized the importance of determining whether the cause might be from existing stressors at home or the implant itself, so unnecessary fear and misconceptions about this type of contraceptive can be avoided.

“It is essential to give them comprehensive details since we sometimes encounter women who are afraid about the possible effects of the implant but they usually become accepting of this method once they have been properly informed about its benefits.”

SIMILAR STORY: Progestin Subdermal Implant: Bagong contraceptive, isinusulong ng Los Baños MHO