Health in hand: New contraceptive option expands access to family planning

Guest post by Sara Tifft, Project Director, PATH Sayana® Press Pilot Introduction project

Worldwide, women choose injectable contraceptives because they are safe, reliable, and discreet. In many rural or remote areas, however, travelling to a clinic to receive an injection is costly and burdensome. PATH, an international nonprofit health organization, is collaborating with global partners to address this challenge. We began with a basic question: What would it take to deliver more injectable options to women, particularly outside the clinic setting?

One answer is Sayana® Press: a small, easy-to-use injectable contraceptive that has the potential to increase access and choice for millions of women worldwide.

PATH is training community health workers in the Mubende district of Uganda to expand access to family planning, including the Sayana Press injectable contraceptive shown here. Photo credit: PATH/Will Boase

PATH is training community health workers in the Mubende district of Uganda to expand access to family planning, including the Sayana Press injectable contraceptive shown here. Photo credit: PATH/Will Boase

Expanded reach for popular option

Sayana Press is transforming the possibilities for injectable contraception. This new option is a lower-dose formulation of Depo-Provera® packaged in the Uniject™ injection system. Uniject, developed by PATH, combines one dose of the contraceptive and a single-use needle into one device. This streamlined design makes it simpler for trained community health workers to safely provide injections in clinics, community locations, or villages. In addition, although Sayana Press isn’t yet licensed for self-injection, research indicates that women may someday be able to self-administer it at home. It is also easy to transport and store and produces less medical waste—another boost for wide availability.

PATH is currently working side-by-side with ministries of health and local partners, with the support of a global donor consortium, to introduce Sayana Press on a pilot basis to women in Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, and Uganda. Sayana Press is being introduced through normal delivery channels in the public, nongovernmental, and commercial sectors. Country introduction activities will continue through 2016.

New price agreement to increase access

On November 13, Pfizer Inc., the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) announced a landmark agreement that will expand access to Sayana Press to women most in need in the world’s 69 poorest countries. Through this agreement, Sayana Press will be sold for US$1 per dose to qualified purchasers, ensuring that women in these countries have access to the contraceptive at reduced or no cost. The agreement will help advance the London Summit on Family Planning (FP2020) commitment to make voluntary family planning (FP) services available to more women and girls in the world’s poorest countries by 2020.

This good news builds on the momentum of the pilot introductions being coordinated by PATH, which will now be of even greater importance as access to Sayana Press increases globally. The lessons learned in these first introductions will enable stakeholders introducing Sayana Press in additional countries to make informed decisions on how to deliver this new method through their FP programs.

All women, wherever they live, should have access to a wide array of FP options that meet their needs. By giving a safe and effective method remarkable new reach, Sayana Press has the potential to help meet this need, extending contraception to more women worldwide.

Learn more about PATH’s Sayana Press Pilot Introduction project.

Learn more about PATH’s work in technologies for reproductive health.

Sayana Press and Depo-Provera are registered trademarks of Pfizer Inc. Uniject is a trademark of BD.

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