The Icyemezo Cyacu study (which means ‘Our choice’ in Kinyarwanda) is a project that seeks to implement high-quality, cost-effective, and sustainable postpartum family planning services in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.

This project is being conducted by Projet San Francisco/Center for Family Health Research in collaboration with Emory University.

What is postpartum family planning?

Postpartum family planning is contraception that is initiated as soon as possible after childbirth.

Why is postpartum family planning important?

Pregnancies within one year postpartum are associated with poor health outcomes for mothers and babies, including preterm birth, low birth weight, small for gestational age infants, and maternal-child death.

The World Health Organization recommends postpartum family planning as safe and effective for birth spacing, prevention of unintended pregnancy and abortion, and maternal and newborn health.

Postpartum family planning has benefits for women, children, and nations. It is estimated that annual maternal deaths would decrease 73% and annual newborn deaths 80% if care for pregnant women and newborns included postpartum family planning services. If couples spaced pregnancies 2-3 years, under-five death is estimated to decrease 25%.

Why are postpartum family planning services needed in Rwanda?

The Rwandan Ministry of Health is committed to reducing the unmet need for postpartum family planning. Unfortunately, the availability of postpartum family planning services in Rwanda is currently limited. Roughly 51% of Rwandan women have an unmet need for postpartum family planning, higher than unmet need during non-postpartum periods. In particular, the use of highly effective long-acting reversible contraceptives in the early postpartum period is low.