Objectives: Since emergency contraception (EC) products became available over the counter in South Africa in 2000 a number of studies have emerged. This paper reviews the growing body of literature on EC in that country. Methods: Standard computer database searches identified published articles and reports on EC in South Africa. Results: The level of awareness of EC is fairly low, especially among public sector clients. Most studies suggest that very few people have even heard of it. Several studies also indicate that provider knowledge of and attitude towards EC vary greatly. While many providers are aware of the indications and efficacy of the method, not all health care professionals are sufficiently knowledgeable and misperceptions persist. The limited knowledge of EC among health professionals may, in turn, prevent them from discussing it with clients. Conclusion: The existing literature suggests that the greater availability of EC is not sufficient to increase uptake and that interventions are needed to ensure that women become aware of this option.
The European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care (2008) 13 (4) 351-361 [DOI 10.1080/13625180802255701]