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This report is the second in a series of research summaries produced in connection with the operations research project “Enhancing Access to Family Planning Services through the Introduction of Emergency Contraception.” Launched in September 1997, the project explores the many issues surrounding the introduction and delivery of emergency contraception services in a developing country context. The study described in this report compares two different approaches to overcoming barriers that prevent women from accessing emergency contraception during the 72-hour period when the first dosage of emergency contraception pills (ECPs) must be taken. In one approach, new family planning (FP) acceptors were given a pack of ECPs for later use in the event of method failure, rape, or unprotected sex. In the other approach, acceptors were given an advanced prescription which, if necessary, could be redeemed for an actual pack of ECPs at participating health centers. Implemented at four public-sector clinics in Lusaka, Zambia, the strategies are compared in terms of their effectiveness at communicating appropriate information on emergency contraception; reducing wastage of ECPs; facilitating timely access to emergency contraception; and limiting use of emergency contraception for emergencies only.






Africa OR/TA Project II