The Effects of Side-Effects: Issues with Modern Contraception in Urban Burkina Faso
Leigh G. Senderowicz, Harvard University
Fear of side effects has long been framed as a barrier to modern contraceptive use, but this important factor has rarely been subject to deeper inquiry. Widespread belief that modern contraception has long-term adverse effects may contribute to low uptake in urban Burkina Faso. Two qualitative studies were performed in the Ouagadougou HDSS between 2011-2012, collecting 60 in-depth interviews, structured observation reports from family planning clinics, and semi-structured interviews with providers and those seeking health services. Several respondents blame their own inability to conceive and miscarriages on prior contraceptive use and many more report similar anxieties. Poor quality of counseling observed in health centers may contribute to misperceptions by matching women with methods that are ill-suited to their needs. Understanding fear of side effects both as a firmly-held belief and an important reason for low contraceptive uptake can help programmers address this issue with education and improved quality of care.