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Navy improves access to contraceptives with new clinic in Norfolk

May 16, 2017 (Photo Credit: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Terah L. Bryant)
The Navy has established a new walk-in contraceptive clinic offering vastly improved accessibility to care for active-duty sailors, a demographic that has traditionally been forced to wait up to three weeks for assistance, the  Virginian-Pilot reports.

Through bypassing the tedious process of seeing the OB-GYN and getting a referral from the primary care doctor, patients can receive the medication and care they need when they need it.

About 62 percent of women in the United States use some sort of contraceptive. The clinic offers women the option of same-day service on birth control prescriptions, renewals, implants, removals and emergency contraception.

Dr. Toni Marengo-Barbick is an OB-GYN and the director of family planning at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, California. Marengo-Barbick told the Virginian-Pilot that the clinics help more than just the patients. By working in a clinic, practitioners are offered an additional route to become credentialed in contraceptive placement. 

Additionally, every unplanned pregnancy can cost the Navy up to $30,000. By offering on-the-spot care routinely afforded to civilians, the clinics are saving the Navy money and helping to maintain military readiness.

“We haven’t proven it yet, but the whole idea that we’d like to see down the road is that we have reduced the unplanned, unintended pregnancy rate,” said Marengo-Barbick.

The clinic opened in late April, and is accessible on Tuesdays from 7 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Sailors can find the clinic in the obstetrics and gynecology department of the Branch Health Clinic at Naval Station Norfolk.

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