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Family Planning

Zuzumpilo Clinic medical staff considers family planning services as an important part of healthcare delivery. The team is friendly, professional and will do its best to offer you the best advise on this highly personal matter.

What is family planning?

Family planning also known as birth control or contraception is the voluntary planning and action taken by individuals to prevent unintended pregnancies, delay or achieve a pregnancy at a desired time. Family planning services include counselling and education, pre-conception care, and use of various contraceptive methods.

PregnantWhy is family planning important?

Access to family planning services is an important factor in planning for healthy pregnancies. Family planning information and services also helps families to have children only when their health, financial conditions, and personal situations are optimal.

The importance of this service is also highlighted by an alarming 2010 study which reported that 60% of South African women indicated that their pregnancies were unplanned.

What is unintended pregnancy?

An unintended pregnancy is one that is unwanted or mistimed at the time of conception. It does not mean an unwanted birth or an unloved child. It does mean that there is less opportunity for the parents to prepare physically and financially, take advantage of pre-pregnancy risk identification and management, and initiate needed changes in diet, exercise, smoking and drinking that help ensure a healthy pregnancy.

Why is unintended pregnancy a problem?

For some, unintended pregnancies result in healthy children in happy families. For others there are negative health effects from late or inadequate prenatal care, low birth weight, fetal exposure to alcohol, tobacco smoke and other toxins, and maternal depression. Unintended pregnancies are also associated with economic hardship, marital dissolution, poor child health and development, spouse abuse, and child abuse and neglect. Almost half of all unintended pregnancies end with an induced abortion.

Contraceptive methods

ContraceptivesThere are many different contraceptive methods, including the use of hormone medications, intrauterine contraceptive devices, barrier contraception, periods of abstaining from sex, and surgery. Some methods are more effective than others:

The Pill

The combined oral contraceptive pill often referred to as “The pill” is a popular and highly effective female contraceptive method that’s been around for over 50 years.

The Pill is a tablet containing two female hormones an oestrogen and a progestogen.

The two hormones stop women from ovulating (producing an egg) each month and if a woman does not ovulate, she won't get pregnant. In addition, the hormones thicken the secretions round a woman’s cervix, making it more difficult for sperm to get through. Also, they make the lining of a woman’s womb thinner, so that it’s less receptive to an egg.

When a woman stops using the combined pill her fertility will return to normal.

Contraceptive injection

Contraceptive injections are a popular and highly effective method of birth control that keeps women from getting pregnant for a considerable period of time.

The injections have three useful anti-fertility effects.


  • They stop you from ovulating (producing eggs).
  • They thicken the mucus in your cervix – making it difficult for sperm to get through.
  • They make the lining of your womb thinner, so that if an egg (ovum) became fertilised, it would have difficulty attaching itself to the lining.


However, you do have to remember to turn up for your next injection. Many of the pregnancies that occur in people who are ‘on the injection’ happen because somehow the injection doesn’t get given on time.


Tubectomy or Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure for permanent contraception to prevent future pregnancies in women.

During a tubal ligation, the fallopian tubes are cut or blocked to permanently prevent pregnancy. A tubal ligation disrupts the movement of the egg to the uterus for fertilization and blocks sperm from traveling up the fallopian tubes to the egg. A tubal ligation doesn't affect your menstrual cycle.

While it may be possible to reverse a tubal ligation, reversal requires a major surgery and isn't always effective.

Intrauterine device

An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small T-shaped plastic device that is placed in the uterus to prevent pregnancy.

A plastic string is attached to the end to ensure correct placement and for removal. IUDs are an easily reversible form of birth control and they can be easily removed. However, an IUD should only be removed by a medical professional.

Contraceptive patch

A contraceptive patch is a small and sticky patch that a woman puts on her skin, and it releases two hormones that stop you from getting pregnant.

One of them is ethinylestradiol, which is a standard ingredient of most contraceptive Pills, and the other is a progestogen called norelgestromin. Their main effect is to stop  women from ovulating, thickens cervical mucus to prevent sperm reaching an egg, and thins the lining of the uterus to prevent a fertilised egg implanting.


A contraceptive implant is a small flexible rod put under the skin of the upper arm. It releases the hormone progestogen. It stops ovulation, thickens cervical mucus to prevent sperm reaching an egg, and thins the lining of the uterus to prevent a fertilised egg implanting.

The implant works for three years but can be taken out sooner and when the implant is removed your fertility will return to normal.


Condoms are one type of birth control that in addition to preventing pregnancy also prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

There are two types of condoms, the male condom and the female condom also known as a femidom.

Femidom is a female preventative tool that is used during sexual intercourse as a contraceptive barrier. Before sexual activity begins, the woman inserts the condom into her vagina so that the closed end of the tube covers the cervix, and the other end slightly covers the labia (lips on the outside of the vagina).

The condom blocks sperm from entering the womb and its reported to have a 75% success rate in preventing pregnancies.

Male contraceptive methods

There are also contraceptive methods for men to consider such as male vasectomy.

Male vasectomy also known as male sterilisation is the only contraceptive method that men can actually do. It is a contraceptive method that terminates fertility.

Vasectomy gives men an opportunity to do something constructive about the reproductive health of their families while relieving their female partner off that responsibility.

Annual Health Checks | High Blood Pressure Management | Diabetes Management | Cholesterol Screening | Adult Immunisation | Child Vaccine Programme | Pap SmearsVoluntary HIV Testing | CD4 TestingWellness ProgrammeARV ProgrammePrevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission | Post-exposure Prophylaxis | TB Screening | Pharmacy


One man’s reaction to his diagnosis.


How this lady’s life has improved

10 ways to be successful on ARVs

Download this article here

Antiretroviral therapy typically combines three or more antiretroviral drugs that work together to keep the HI Virus from multiplying. Although antiretroviral drugs improve health and delay death, they do not cure HIV/AIDS.


  1. Commit to drug taking: ART is lifelong treatment which needs to be taken correctly for it to be effective.
  2. Get to know your treatment: Ensure that you know and understand what medication you are on and how to take it.
  3. Choose a pill time: Get help from your healthcare provider to work out a medication schedule that will fit into your daily activities.
  4. Remember your medication: Make use of an alarm clock or cellphone to remind you when to take your medication.
  5. Get a pillbox: Keep a supply of your drugs with you wherever you go, so that you do not miss your pill time (it also helps to have a bottle of water with you).
  6. Get a treatment buddy: It helps to disclose to someone close to you, preferably someone who lives with you, who will be able to offer you support and to remind you to take your treatment.
  7. Missed doses: If you miss a dose take it as soon as you remember. But if it’s almost time for your next dose then you should wait and take the next dose. Do not take double doses.
  8. Stopping treatment: Do not stop treatment on your own, unless instructed to do so by your doctor.
  9. Be aware of side effects: Ensure that your health care provider has explained to you any possible side effects that you may experience. If you do experience any report them to your Health care provider as soon as possible.
  10. Monitoring and evaluation: Be sure to keep all scheduled appointments with your healthcare provider, especially in the first few months of taking treatment, so that the effect of the treatment can be monitored.



Name: Sarah
Age: 34 years

This patient found out that she was HIV positive when she was 4 months pregnant. She struggled to tell her mom and her partner who also found out he was HIV positive. She gave birth to an HIV negative son. Her family supports her to take her ARVS every evening when Generations begin and she hasn’t looked back. In fact she often forgets she is HIV positive!

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Name: Disebo

Age: 39 years

This ZuziMpilo Medical Centre patient thought she would die within three days of her AIDS diagnosis which she discovered after the birth of her son. Rather than tell her family the truth, she told her mom she had Cancer, but when she finally admitted to having AIDS, she was almost forced to leave home. Thankfully she began on ARVs. She says: “Seven year later I am still doing well on treatment and living a healthy life thanks to the drugs. Antiretroviral medication really works!”

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