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SDM Implementation Guidelines Table of Contents
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Why Introduce the SDM?
Table of Contents
Expanding contraceptive choice increases contraceptive prevalence
The success of a family planning program Key Reasons for Making the SDM Part
About the SDM
depends on its ability to meet the family of Your Program
Why Introduce the SDM? planning needs of the populations it serves,
Expanding contraceptive choice increases
Needs Assessment including their need for specific methods,
whether they are for spacing or limiting births.
SDM Programmatic The SDM is an effective option for couples
Framework Research shows that when people can choose
using periodic abstinence who do not have
among several different contraceptive methods correct information on how to avoid
they are more likely to find – and use – a
method that appeals to them . With the SDM services can be offered easily and
Training Providers introduction of the SDM in Peru, for example, effectively by a wide variety of programs.
Counseling Clients approximately 5% of all new family planning SDM introduction will contribute to efforts
to reduce the gap between contraceptive
users in areas served selected the SDM in the
Inform. / Educ. / Comm. commodity needs and donor capacity.
first year the method was introduced .
Assuring Quality The SDM is a safe and effective natural
option for many women and couples in a
Procurement and Logistics Most couples using periodic variety of contexts worldwide.
abstinence do not have correct The SDM increases male participation in
Other Service Delivery Issues
information on how to avoid family planning.
SDM Resources pregnancy The SDM increases the understanding of
References basic fertility awareness among men and
It is estimated that 27 million couples worldwide, women, thus enhancing their ability to
Abbreviations representing 2.6% of all couples in reproductive make family planning decisions.
age, use periodic abstinence to avoid pregnancy
. The majority of them, however, do not
know when they are most likely to get pregnant
– often making their efforts to avoid pregnancy
Additionally, millions of women who do not want to get pregnant are not using method family
planning. Others using a method inconsistently, switching methods frequently or discontinuing a
method after just a few months of use. Many of these women could benefit from simple, accurate
information about their fertility – to help them know when to avoid unprotected intercourse to prevent
SDM can be offered easily and effectively by a wide range of
Incorporating the SDM helps programs expand informed choice, reduce unmet need and increase
contraceptive prevalence. It is easy for organizations to offer the SDM because the method does not
require special equipment or infrastructure. In fact, a wide range of organizations – ministries of
health, family planning associations, faith-based groups and NGOs – are now offering the SDM. It
has been offered successfully by community volunteers, community-based health workers and NGO
outreach workers as well as by auxiliary nurses and physicians. In El Salvador, for example, the
SDM was successfully incorporated into rural programs addressing health, water and sanitation,
education, and micro-enterprise by Project Concern International and the Reconstruction Committee
of El Salvador (CIRES).
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SDM offers a strategy to bridge the gap between contraceptive
commodity needs and donor commitment
The growing demand for family planning services and funding levels that do not match the growing
need are resulting in a major gap. One alternative to alleviating this donor gap is the introduction of
low-cost, simple, and effective methods of family planning, such as the SDM. The SDM may be
particularly important in settings where there is a high reliance on traditional methods, high levels of
unmet need for family planning, and chronic depletion of contraceptive commodities. In most
developing countries, contraceptives and the educational materials that support them are heavily
subsidized and often are distributed to users at no cost or at a very low fee . The only
“commodity” cost associated with the SDM is CycleBeads—the device that women use to track their
menstrual cycle—which represents a low-cost one-time purchase. In Burkina Faso, CycleBeads were
sold to SDM users at 500 CFA (approximately US$1)—and the majority of users reported that this
price was reasonable .
The SDM has been accepted by clients and providers in a variety of
settings and programs worldwide
Around the world, approximately 90% of women participating in operations research studies reported
that the SDM is easy to use and that they would recommend it to others. The reasons men and
women give for their positive attitudes towards the SDM include that it is natural, has no side effects,
and is effective, affordable and easy to use.
Reasons for Choosing the SDM
Six Countries 1 U.S.2
Doesn’t affect health 70% 80%
No side effects 20% 30%
Economical 30% 5%
Easy to learn and use 10% 45%
1 Interviews with users in 6 countries, IRH
2 Survey of internet purchasers
The results of research worldwide also show that women and men are able to successfully manage
the woman’s fertile period—either through abstinence or using other means of protection. Women
and men have also reported that the SDM has helped them to improve couple communication—and
women are empowered by having better knowledge and information about their bodies and
reproductive health. Research shows that women who complete one year of SDM use are very likely
to continue using the method. In a multi-year use study conducted by the Institute for Reproductive
Health, 66% of SDM users were still using the method two years later.
SDM increases male participation in family planning
While program planners and providers often are concerned about the acceptability of the SDM for
men, research shows that men generally are satisfied with the method. In the clinical trial of the SDM,
only 2% of women dropped out of the study because their partners did not want to use the method.
And in many instances men actually increased their participation in family planning. Results of the
SDM introduction studies, which followed some 1,600 users in nine countries for up to 13 cycles,
showed that most men participated in method use by helping to keep track of the fertile days and by
abstaining or using condoms during these days.
SDM attracts clients who are not interested in other methods
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While the SDM is used by a range of clients with different backgrounds, research shows that the
method is very attractive for clients who never before have used any family planning method. For
example, research in Benin and Rwanda showed that 80% and 96% of SDM users, respectively,
were first time users of family planning.
SDM has no side effects and does not affect the woman’s health
The SDM is an appropriate alternative for women seeking a family planning method that does not
cause side effects. Although the SDM also attracts many clients with no previous family planning
experience, some SDM users are women who have discontinued other methods because their
concerns about side effects and other health issues. When men and women were asked about their
reason for using the SDM, the majority stated that they chose it because it has no effect on their
health. In Burkina Faso, for example, with the introduction of the SDM, 89% of women reported
choosing the SDM because it had no effect on their health.
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Copyright 2006 Institute for Reproductive Health IRH HOMEPAGE