Providing a full choice of contraceptives is essential to quality of care, and ensures that each woman will be able to choose the family planning method that best suits her needs, preferences, and life-cycle requirements. Globally, 110 million women cite method-related reasons for their nonuse of contraception. USAID’s Expanding Effective Contraceptive Options (EECO) project, led by WomanCare Global and PSI, is designed to provide women with a greater range of options. Large-scale pilots in Zambia, Malawi, Madagascar, and India will introduce four new product lines: a contraceptive gel, new barrier methods, a hormonal intrauterine system (IUS), and intravaginal rings (IVR). Most of these methods are woman-initiated, and each of them has key benefits that address women’s concerns.
India has also taken a major step in the right direction by approving injectable contraceptives for use in the public health system. This landmark decision expands the basket of choice for millions of Indian women, who will now have access to one of the world’s most popular and effective contraceptive methods.
In Senegal and Uganda, where injectable contraceptives are already widely used, PATH is exploring a new option that could revolutionize access: self-injection of Sayana® Press. Sayana® Press is a completely self-contained one-use syringe that delivers a pre-measured dose of Depo-Provera. It’s currently approved for distribution by trained health care providers, but the hope is that women will be able to use it at home by themselves—with no need for a trip to the clinic at all. With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, PATH is working with the governments of Senegal and Uganda to conduct a series of studies on the operational feasibility and cost-effectiveness of self-injection. An additional study in Uganda is focused on assessing the attitudes of younger women and health care providers toward self-injection.