28 October 2003
The Western Cape has launched a 24-hour toll-free hotline for information and referrals on emergency contraception – the first of its kind in Africa.
The hotline – 0800 246 432 – is a public-private partnership between the provincial health department, the University of Stellenbosch, the World Population Foundation, and private clinic Medi-Challenge.
“There is a perception – that we need to change – that emergency contraception causes an abortion”, said the provincial health department’s deputy director-general of reproductive health, Marie Adamo.
“One young woman told me that teenagers do not get information on emergency contraception from parents and at schools, and they are also shy to go to clinics”, Adamo said, adding that young people were more comfortable talking to people on the phone than face-to-face.
“The trained professionals at the call centre will be able to advise young people and give correct information about emergency contraception without passing any judgements”, she said.
The call centre is funded by the World Population Foundation, while Stellenbosch University provides infrastructure and research, and Medi-Challenge and the provincial department of health supply the medicines.