units :: Family Planning and Reproductive Health
The provision of family planning is the single most cost-effective health care intervention available. When the interval between the birth of successive children is more than two years, there is a 50% reduction in perinatal mortality. Contraceptive methods available today provide women with reliable methods to regulate and control their fertility independently of male cooperation (read more on emergency contraception at not-2-late). They could pursue education and employment and plan their births at optimal times, thereby ensuring safe motherhood and better chances for child survival.
In the clinic at Tygerberg Hospital we believe that family planning is an invaluable tool in the struggle to achieve gender equality, as it enables women to make informed choices in their reproductive life, using their own judgement. Tygerberg Hospital is one of the tertiary hospitals in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. This family planning clinic has a proud history of service to the community. It is unique in the sense that it covers all three levels of health care. It not only serves as a primary care facility for the local community and the staff and patients in the hospital, but is also a referral clinic for problem cases from the primary care clinics and secondary hospitals in the area. The clinic also offers a sterilisation service to women and a vasectomy service to men. Our male advisor has probably the most effective vasectomy information service in SA .
As part of the Stellenbosch University the personnel are also active in the training of nursing staff, medical students and doctors (both undergraduate and postgraduate). There are also numerous research activities in the unit - one of which is to do a needs assessment for adolescent friendly services. We are in the process of developing an information package addressing high-risk sexual behaviour in adolescents.
The clinic also supplies emergency contraception for women after unplanned unprotected intercourse. This service is available 24 hours per day. For this method to be effective, women must present within 72 hours of intercourse. We also address the HIV/AIDS issue here and actively promote the use of and supply male and female condoms for the prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. The clinic participated in a trial of acceptability of the female condom.
The Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care Unit in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of Stellenbosch University has projects supported by the World Population Foundation (WPF), a Dutch-based non-governmental organisation, aimed to improve sexual and reproductive health outcomes for young people (10-24) as well as reduce costs to the health care system in South Africa.
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