The experience of a family planning practice in a southern Portuguese
V.R.D. Nobre, E.M.C.A. de Melo
Évora’s Health Centre, Évora, Portugal
Introduction and objectives: Portuguese law contemplates sexual
education and family planning as every citizen’s fundamental right. The health
centres, which are the primary health care providers in Portugal, are
responsible for divulging and supplying the available contraception methods, as
well as carrying out screening programmes for breast and cervix cancers. Évora’s
health centre covers a total of 56257 residents. It is an ageing population
characterized by a low density, where about 66% of working adults have a job in
the tertiary sector. Our objective is to characterize the women that use the
family planning practice, as well as the contraceptive methods used.
Design and methods: We have 13876 women of reproductive age (15–49
year olds) registered in our health centre. Using our computer records, we
carried out a prospective study selecting a cohort of women who have visited the
family planning office from April 2002 to April 2004 (our active population,
n=1667), analysing the several contraception methods used in our practice (pills,
subcutaneous hormonal implants, intra uterine devices (IUD’s), barrier, mixed
and natural methods, as well as emergency contraception).
Results and Conclusions: Our practice coverage rate is of 12%.
Investigating more deeply the reasons for this will be an interesting topic to
study in the future with the objective to better the coverage rate value. The
pill continues to be the method preferred by our users. Of particular note is
the increasing demand for the hormonal subcutaneous implant as a contraceptive
method of choice. It currently enjoys great acceptance among our women.