Clinical researchers want vaginal ring integrated in family planning

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Marie Michelle Umulisa, the representative of Gira Ubuzima.diane mushimiyimana

Researchers at a local Clinical Research Centre, Rinda Ubuzima, have called on the Ministry of Health and its partners to explore ways of introducing vaginal ring as one of the family planning methods in the country.

This is among the recommendations of a study conducted by the organisation on vaginal ring’s acceptability among over 120 women in Kigali city over a two year period (2013-2015).

The research findings were made public on Tuesday at the ministry of Health offices in Kicukiro.

Marie Michelle Umulisa, a representative of Rinda Ubuzima, said that the ring can act as best option for women who want to limit birth.

The study revealed that it can be the most effective family planning tool with no secondary effects on the users, she said.

The ring is 91 per cent effective and its role is to stop sperm from meeting an egg, according to the research.

Like most birth control pills, the ring contains the hormones estrogen and progestin, which are similar to hormones our bodies make naturally. A woman wears the ring inside her vagina, where the vaginal lining absorbs the hormones and it is changed every month.

“The study included a large social science component, focused on acceptability and adherence, including attitudes and beliefs regarding family planning, sexuality and gender norms. We made a follow up on our sample in two years’ period using exclusively the vaginal ring as their contraceptive method, and at the end, no single side effect was identified to all. They even reported the satisfaction of their partners,” Umulisa explained.

She added that, currently, the ring is highly used by women in developed countries and a few here also buy it over the counter at a price which is relatively high for the general population.

The researchers’ hope the government can explore ways to make it easily accessible and affordable to everyone in need of it.

Dr Zuberi Muvunyi, the Director General of clinical and public health services at the ministry, said they would seek ways to make the findings informative in family planning policies.

Rinda Ubuzima is a clinical research centre operating as non-governmental organization.

It has long-term collaborations with the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD), the Netherlands, the University of Liverpool, Institute of Infection and Global Health, and the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM).

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