Established in 2020 as a research unit of ARTH society, Centre for Contraception Research works for advancing contraception policy and practice in India through implementation-research, dissemination and advocacy. It works as an independent unit within the organization and draws on professional resources and skills as needed, to focus on implementation issues that are relevant to policy and programmes in large north Indian states like Rajasthan.
The Centre has started with following objectives:
- To study processes and impact of state, private and market interventions for contraception on communities, focusing on vulnerable groups
- To test feasibility and acceptability of innovative messaging, positioning and delivery approaches for enhancing contraceptive options, choice and consistent use among young persons
- To document user perceptions and experiences of contraception and other forms of birth control
- To study interactions between services for contraception and those for relevant health priorities like abortion, maternal health care and HIV / STI prevention and to assess scope for greater synergy and/ or integration
- To use evidence to inform policy, programmes and service delivery guidelines on contraception and related SRH services
A five member Research Advisory Committee(RAC) guides CCR in establishing a set of priorities along with dissemination and linkage to advocacy groups and activities. To carry credibility independent of the CCR, the RAC does not involve itself in in implementation of activities. The centre has started exploring following research priorities. On basis of need and capacity, we will explore more areas.
1. Repositioning Emergency Contraception
With low levels of acceptance and use, the “emergency” label on sexual activity might aggravate stigmatization of sexual activity and in effect discourage its use. Alternate positioning of EC as a short term option for non-users might therefore be considered. Keeping this in mind, we plan to conduct formative research and test pilot interventions on repositioning emergency contraception. To start with, we conducted pilot testing with some existing users in our area which helped us to develop the research questions and study tools accordingly.
2. Contraception among migrant and long-distance couples
With large proportion of males migrating to other cities for employment, wives of migrant husbands are left behind. There is need for spousal communication about expectations of contraception use in situations in which husband’s visits are unplanned or might be sudden. This is quite different from need among migrant men to use condoms to prevent STI/HIV. Keeping this in mind, we planned to conduct formative research exploring determinants of contraceptive use among young migrant couples. To understand the pattern of contraception use, we have conducted test interviews in our field area, which helped us to have clearer understanding of research objectives and creating study tools for the same.
3. Contraception among newly weds
Family expectations to demonstrate fertility, poor spousal communication, and lack of prior knowledge and access to commodities combine to make contraception an absent part of newly wed sexual activity. To understand decision making around contraception use, we are planning to conduct formative research on determinants of contraceptive decision making and use among newly wed couples in rural-tribal settings.
4. Dissemination of Work
Along with this, we planned to disseminate ARTH’s work carried out during 2018-20, including enabling contraception through community health entrepreneurs, the role of pregnancy self testing in promoting women’s agency in the field of SRH, and role of the Levonorgestrel intrauterine device as a long acting reversible contraceptive option.