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A new contraceptive free to women in SA

Freedom of choice
Free contraceptive to SA women

Speaking during a debate in the National Assembly, he announced what he called "the biggest family-planning programme South Africa has ever seen".

The subdermal contraceptive device, about the size of a match, will be available to women at public hospitals around the country.

The device, which has to be inserted by a medical professional under the skin of the upper arm, confers protection from pregnancy for three years.

"This device costs R1,700 if you go to a private doctor. But we shall give it free of charge to every woman in South Africa, regardless of their socioeconomic status," Dr Motsoaledi said. "It will be available in all public hospitals by February 27 and will reach all public clinics by the middle of this year."

The advantage of the device over contraceptive injections — the effects of which could take up to 12 months to wear off — is that users of the subdermal implant can become pregnant within weeks of its removal.

In a statement, Dr Motsoaledi said it offered women more freedom.

"It gives women freedom to control their own lives. It can be taken out any time and if they want to (fall pregnant), it only takes few weeks to conceive."

Some nurses have already been trained to insert the implant and 4,000 more are set to do so, he added.

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