Assessing the experiences of intra-uterine device users in a long-term conflict setting: A qualitative study on the Thailand-Burma border

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Abstract

Background: In Burma, severe human rights violations, civil conflict, and the persecution of ethnic and linguistic minority populations has resulted in the displacement of millions of people, many of whom now reside as internally displaced populations (IDPs) in Eastern Burma or in Thailand as refugees or undocumented migrants. Use of the intra-uterine device (IUD), a non-user dependent and highly reliable method of long acting reversible contraception, has the potential to make a significant impact on reproductive health in this protracted conflict setting. Objectives: This qualitative study aimed to understand Burmese women's experiences with and perceptions of the IUD and identify avenues for improving contraceptive service delivery along the Thailand-Burma border. Methods: In the summer of 2013, we conducted in-person in-depth open-ended interviews with 31 women who obtained IUDs from a clinic along the border. We conducted a content and thematic analysis of these data using both a priori (pre-determined) and emergent codes and inductive techniques. Results: Women's experiences with the IUD are overwhelmingly positive and the experiences of friends and family impact use of the device. Financial considerations and access to reproductive health facilities also shape the use of the IUD in this region. The IUD is rare along the Thailand-Burma border and misinformation about this method of contraception is pervasive. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that this modality of contraception is culturally acceptable and may be able to address structural barriers to reproductive health services along the Thailand-Burma border. Ensuring that information provided by health care providers and among peer groups is evidence-based, a full range of contraceptive methods is available, and adoption of an IUD is affordable are priorities for expanding access to reproductive health services in this setting.

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Gedeon, J., Hsue, S. N., Walsh, M., Sietstra, C., Marsan, H., & Foster, A. M. (2015). Assessing the experiences of intra-uterine device users in a long-term conflict setting: A qualitative study on the Thailand-Burma border. Conflict and Health, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13031-015-0034-9

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