Market shaping interventions are geared toward ensuring that women have reliable access to a wide range of high-quality, affordable contraceptives. Stock-outs of contraceptives are a persistent problem in low-income countries, and seriously impede women’s ability to use family planning. A number of complex factors are linked to stock-outs, including long lead-times for procurement or delivery of products due to bureaucratic and manufacturing processes, insufficient funding for commodities and supply chain operation, lack of supply chain training for health providers, and the need to improve supply chain information systems and forecasting of stock needs.
This year the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC) launched Take Stock, a global initiative to tackle the stock-out problem once and for all. With the tagline, “An empty shelf is everyone’s problem,” Take Stock promises to mobilize public health leaders, facilitate a common language to talk about stock-outs, and cultivate tangible commitments to take action.
A Total Market Approach (TMA) is a strategy for using the whole market in a country—the public sector plus the private sector—to meet the demand for family planning commodities and services. Many governments are committed to expanding access to contraceptives, but public health systems find it difficult to keep pace. Private sector providers can help fill the gap: NGOs, social marketing organizations that offer subsidized products and services, and commercial vendors. A TMA can ensure that public sector resources are preserved for those most in need, while those who have the ability to pay are directed to the private sector.
In Uganda, the Evidence Project is supporting the development of a TMA to help the country meet its FP2020 commitments. The first phase of the project is an in-depth landscape analysis of the total market for family planning in Uganda. The results will lay the groundwork for the rest of the Uganda project, while also informing the development of a landscaping guidance tool to support TMAs in other country contexts. The tool will be developed in consultation with in-country partners and stakeholders from the RHSC Market Development Approaches Working Group.