Lessons in Unexpected Places

cost-of-implanon-210430913You think you know it all when you hit fourth year. Okay, you know you don’t know some stuff. But HIV, TB, childhood illnesses and pregnancy? You do think you know as much as there is to know.

And then you come to a little rural area, and a foreign girl from deep in Africa walks into casualty and requests the removal of some sort of injection from her arm.

And you think perhaps she is delusional, but when you palpate her arm, sure enough there are two longitudinal rods.

There is a language barrier, so after much mixed language and signing, you figure out that whatever this is, is supposed to be a contraceptive.

We know about all the medication, all the hormonal devices, all the barrier contraceptives, all the surgeries. But never, NEVER were we taught about subcutaneous contraceptive devices. The doctors here had no idea what it was either, so we ended up using Google.

Two little rods, can you imagine…


  1. Like Implanon? They’ve been around in the US for awhile, and Planned Parenthood touts them as safe and effective. I wonder where she got it…

    1. Yeah, like Implanon! I wonder too, because they are very expensive and she was an asylum seeker… and currently works at minimal wage. I’ve never even seen it advertised in private sector South Africa.

  2. doctorsprout says:

    Did you ever figure out what it was? That’s so strange!

  3. Well, from what I’ve read about Implanon, it must have been that. It was really word having senior doctors not know something though.

  4. Carrie says:

    Those were really popular here in the US when I was in college. . . so 15 years ago. I think they were called Norplant back then. You could see them under people’s skin, so it gave the overly religious something to gossip about.

    1. Ah, I wonder if that’s why their popularity is low. Although I couldn’t see it under this girl’s skin. Maybe the fact that removing it pretty much requires a blade into your skin and a stitch or two was a problem too. Thanks for stopping by!

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