Boost for Sterilisation Services in the Western Cape | Western Cape Government


Boost for Sterilisation Services in the Western Cape

15 October 2009
Reproductive health care should be available, accessible, appropriate and affordable to all those who require it. The use of family planning is often influenced by education, place of residence and means. Improvement of family planning requires greater focus on youth, integrating family planning in HIV-intervention and access to a range of contraceptive methods, including long-acting reversible contraceptives and permanent methods.

Sterilisation is safe, simple, effective and must be considered permanent, hence making it one of the most convenient methods available today. The Association for Voluntary Sterilisation of South Africa (AVSSA) has been promoting and supporting sterilisation services in South Africa and specifically in the Western Cape Province since 1975.

Tygerberg Hospital commenced female sterilisations in 1985 and to date have performed approximately 26 435 (40% of which were laparoscopic). The procedure is generally performed in the day theatre and done laparoscopically under general anaesthetic.

AVSSA and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Tygerberg Hospital have united in a joint venture to better the quality of sterilisation services in the Western Cape. AVSSA purchased specialised equipment to the value of R500 000, which includes a high definition computerised video recording camera and electronic storing system. This equipment was handed over to the Family Planning and Reproductive Health Unit today in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Tygerberg Hospital. AVSSA is proud to provide the laparoscopic equipment as these new and different systems will allow better training and recording of all sterilisations done at Tygerberg Hospital.

There is still an enormous challenge in developing countries due to the limited resources and inadequate use of family planning. Family planning has decreased as an international priority despite the proven impact on maternal and child health. Access to a choice of contraceptive methods at all stages of reproductive health is needed in order to reduce maternal deaths and prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Sterilisation can help HIV infected mothers from having unintended pregnancies and thus reduces the number of babies at risk of infection. Sterilisation is the ideal choice for men and women who have decided that they do not want any more children. The procedure should always be considered as a permanent and irreversible method of contraception. Sterilisation does not cure or prevent HIV/AIDS infection or other STD's.

Some facts from latest report on Family Planning saves lives - Population Reference Bureau (March 2009):

  • Family planning could prevent up to one-third of all maternal deaths by allowing women to delay motherhood, space births, avoid unintended pregnancies, and unsafely performed abortions, and stop childbearing when they have reached their desired family size.

  • Closely spaced births result in higher infant mortality: International survey data show that babies born less than two years after their next oldest brother or sister are twice as likely to die in the first year as those born after an interval of three years.

  • Young women face higher risks of dying from pregnancy or childbirth: Women ages 15 to 19 are twice as likely to die from maternal causes as older women; many adolescents are physically immature, which increases their risks of suffering from obstetric complications.

  • Family planning prevents abortions: An estimated 20 million unsafely performed abortions take place each year-resulting in 67,000 deaths annually, mostly in developing countries. Family planning can prevent many of these tragic deaths by reducing the number of unintended pregnancies that lead to abortions.

Issued by the Directorate: Communications for the Western Cape Department of Health.

For more information please contact:

Laticia Pienaar:
Cell:073 171 3643
Tel: 021 938 5454

Dr Petrus Steyn:
Cell: 082 785 6042

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