Contraceptive dynamics during COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa: Longitudinal evidence from Burkina Faso and Kenya

Celia Karp, Shannon N. Wood, Georges Guiella, Peter Gichangi, Suzanne O. Bell, Philip Anglewicz, Elizabeth Larson, Linnea Zimmerman, Caroline Moreau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Evidence from health emergencies suggests COVID-19 will disrupt women's sexual and reproductive health (SRH). In sub-Saharan Africa, which experiences the highest rates of unintended pregnancy and unsafe abortion globally, COVID-19 is projected to slow recent progress toward universal access to contraceptive services. Methods We used longitudinal data collected from women at risk of unintended pregnancy in Burkina Faso (n=1186) and Kenya (n=2784) before (November 2019-February 2020) and during (May-July 2020) COVID-19 to quantify contraceptive dynamics during COVID-19; examine sociodemographic factors and COVID-19 experiences related to contraceptive dynamics; and assess COVID-19-related reasons for contraceptive non-use. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regressions were used to examine correlates of contraceptive dynamics amid COVID-19. Results Most women did not change their contraceptive status during COVID-19 (68.6% in Burkina Faso and 81.6% in Kenya) and those who did were more likely to adopt a method (25.4% and 13.1%, respectively) than to discontinue (6.0% and 5.3%, respectively). Most women who switched contraceptives were using methods as or more effective than their pre-pandemic contraception. Economic instability related to COVID-19 was associated with increased contraceptive protection in Burkina Faso but not in Kenya. Altogether, 14.4% of non-contraceptive users in Kenya and 3.8% in Burkina Faso identified COVID-19-related reasons for non-use. Conclusions The vast majority of women at risk of unintended pregnancy did not change their contraceptive status during COVID-19, and more women adopted than discontinued methods. A minority of women reported COVID-19-related reasons for non-use, underscoring the importance of expanding safe modes of service delivery during health crises.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-260
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021


  • COVID-19
  • contraception behavior
  • epidemiology
  • family planning services
  • reproductive health services
  • surveys and questionnaires

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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