OurHealth Reproductive Health Women's Health

Tshwane women sound off on new contraceptive

Written by Tshilidzi Tuwani

OurHealth talks to two Tshwane women about what they love and hate about the country’s newest birth control option.

Cecilia Katane recently switched to Implanon Nxt after about five years on the Depo-Provera birth control injection. (File photo)

Cecilia Katane recently switched to Implanon Nxt after about five years on the Depo-Provera birth control injection. (File photo)

In February, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi introduced the country’s first below the skin implant to prevent pregnancy, called Implanon Nxt, as part of new national guidelines aimed to expand women’s birth control choices.

Previously a devoted user of the Depo-Provera birth control injection, Cecilia Katane from Soshanguve Block M Extension says she happened upon Implanon Nxt by accident.

“One day, I was accompanying my sick friend to Maria Rantho Clinic when I found a health official presenting about implant family planning,” she said. “I decided not to miss the free opportunity.”

“All they needed from me was to see my family planning card,” she told OurHealth.  “They also asked me if I have high blood pressure, tuberculosis or any other diseases in order to make sure I qualified for the implant.”

Katane first opted to use birth control in 2009 after the birth of her son. She says she was sold on the new, matchstick-sized implant after learning that it could prevent unwanted pregnancies for up to three years.

Health workers then inserted the small rod just beneath the skin of Katane’s upper arm. She said that she experienced very little pain apart from some soreness in her arm. This pain disappeared after four days, she added.

Implanon Nxt can have some side effects, including weight gain, acne and changes in mood. According to Katane, she noticed changes in her menstrual cycle and picked up eight kgs after she switched to the new birth control method.

Headaches are also listed as a side effect of the medication. Hilda Motshwene from Winterveldt said these headaches were bad enough that health workers advised her to remove Implanon Nxt and try a different form of contraception. She added that she definitely plans to have the tiny implant removed and explore her options.

About the author

Tshilidzi Tuwani

Tshilidzi Tuwani is an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from Gauteng's Tshwane Health District.