Free Emergency Contraception at your Community Health Care facility
The Western Cape Government Health (WCGH) and its partners are reminding sexually active women about the emergency contraception (the morning after pill) option should they wish to prevent an unplanned pregnancy.
Emergency contraception is free at all primary health care facilities on weekdays during working hours, as well as after-hours and on weekends at selected community health centres in the Cape Metro region. Women can also access other forms of contraception at local public health facilities during the holiday period and beyond.
Emergency contraception can be used as an emergency pill by women who forget to take their birth control pills, have a condom break during intercourse, or have unprotected sex for other reasons (including victims of sexual assault). It is a method of birth control to be used occasionally, in specific unexpected or emergency situations, not as a primary form of birth control.
According to Edna Arends, WCGH Deputy Director: Women’s Health, emergency contraception does not protect against further unprotected sexual intercourse but rather encourage a suitable contraceptive method to be used by women. “A woman does not need a physical exam or any lab tests to get emergency contraception at our health facilities. She should take it as soon as possible after unprotected sex. It is most effective within the first day of unprotected sex, but it can work up to five days (120 hours) later. Women can take emergency contraception at any time during their menstrual cycle.”
Women who use emergency contraception do not need to see a health worker after taking it. It is safe to use, and it does not have long-term consequences. However, they should have a pregnancy test if their period does not occur within three or four weeks or if they develop unusual vaginal bleeding or abdominal pain.
Byron la Hoe
Cell: 072 368 0596