In many developing countries, a large portion of the population lack access to family planning products and services due to lack of products, poor distribution systems, high prices, under-resourced public health systems and lack of trained, competent medical providers. Every year, there are more than 70 million unintended pregnancies, and every day more than 800 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
Providing access to contraception prevents unintended, often high-risk pregnancies – those that come too early, too often or too late in life – and reduces the number of abortions, saving lives. The benefits of family planning also extend beyond a woman’s improved health:
- Spaced births and fewer pregnancies improve child survival.
- Women also have greater access to education and employment opportunities when they control their fertility, which can enhance their own and their families’ economic status.
Our contraception solutions support the “Family Planning 2020” goal of reaching 120 million more women and girls in the world’s poorest countries with access to voluntary family planning information, contraceptives and services by the year 2020.
Through our network of local members, and in collaboration with national governments, we seek to provide access, create demand and improve service delivery of contraception within the context of informed choice.
To provide family planning products and services where they are most needed, we use a number of approaches and strategies across our portfolio, including:
- Creating franchised networks of medical providers to offer clinical services.
- Working with health service providers through formal, competency-based training programs, and rigorous quality assurance to ensure their ability to provide high-quality family planning services.
- Utilizing existing wholesale and retail distribution infrastructure to make products widely available
- Expanding the reach of products and services through outreach events, task-shifting to lower level providers where possible and engaging community-based health workers.
- Working with governments and key stakeholders to increase contraceptive security.
- Advocating for policy changes to reduce barriers to access and use of contraception for youth, women and couples.
Our solutions take into account the local epidemiological and cultural context as well as the total health care market. We aim to improve women’s, families’ and communities’ health while enhancing a country’s entire health care system.
Over the past three decades, we have expanded the contraceptive methods in our portfolio beyond male condoms and oral contraceptives. We promote short-term contraception, long-acting reversible contraception and permanent methods by training providers, assuring quality of care, and social marketing for a wide range of products.
Click on the Solutions tab for our full contraceptive methods portfolio.
In 2013 we provided 22,404,426 CYPs and prevented an estimated 5.6 million unintended pregnancies and more than 15,400 maternal deaths.
- Vaginal Ring: We are partnering with Woman Care Global to use social marketing to introduce a progesterone only contraceptive vaginal ring in Malawi and Zambia.
- Diaphragm: As part of USAID’s Expanding Effective Contraceptive Options (EECO) project, we use social marketing to promote the use of the SILCS diaphragm, a new and unique non-hormonal, reusable barrier contraceptive.
- Standard Days Method and CycleBeads®: The Standard Days Method is a fertility awareness-based method where women keep track of the days of their menstrual cycle using CycleBeads® to see which days they are most likely to get pregnant.
- Oral Contraception: Our marketing strategies for oral contraceptives create consumer demand by addressing the key barriers preventing a woman from using oral contraceptives, often related to safety concerns.
- Emergency Contraception Pills: Our objective using social marketing for emergency contraception is to decrease the incidence of unintended pregnancies by making it available to women who have had unprotected intercourse.
- Female Condoms: We have developed successful female condom social marketing solutions to address the particular barriers women face negotiating condom use with their partners.
- Male Condoms: We use private sector marketing strategies to increase demand for, and access to, attractively packaged, affordable and high-quality latex male and female condoms.
- Injectable Contraception: We train service providers in family planning counseling and method administration, including community-based distribution of injectables and other short-acting methods as authorized by local health authorities.
- Intrauterine Contraceptive Device (IUD): The IUD is an essential part of our contraceptive method mix. It provides a long-term solution to family planning for women who do not wish to receive a permanent method.
- Postpartum IUD: With our partners, we are pioneering to create a low-cost inserter designed specifically for postpartum IUD insertion.
- Contraceptive Implants: We ensure quality assurance in the insertion and removal of contraceptive implants and informed choice among consumers.
- Permanent Methods: There is a high expressed unmet need for permanent methods mainly because services are not always accessible or affordable in many developing countries. In Pakistan we have included permanent method services for women in their contraception mix, and in Guatemala, male and female sterilization is offered to clients within the context of informed choice.
Increasing Access and Creating Demand:
- Reaching Underserved Populations: We expand the reach of contraception products and services to these hard-to-reach and under-served populations through mobile outreach services, special service events, task-shifting to lower level providers where possible and engaging community-based health workers.
- Providing Access: Ensuring that all women and men are able to access products and services is essential to PSI’s work.
- Creating Demand: PSI utilizes a broad mix of communication activities to increase demand among potential family planning clients and providers.
- Women’s Limited Choice and Availability of Modern Contraception at Retail Outlets and Public-Sector Facilities in Luanda, Angola, 2012–2015
Despite high rates of unintended pregnancy, access to a wide range of contraceptive methods, especially injectables and long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), is severely limited in both public and private facilities. Knowledge of contraceptive choices is likewise limited, yet a substantial proportion of women are not using their preferred method among the methods they know of.
- Developing Family Planning Markets in Francophone West Africa
In Francophone West Africa, PSI partners with Ministries of Health to achieve the goals set out by the Ouagadougou Partnership to reach at least 2.2 million additional family planning users by 2020. The pillars of our response are access, choice, quality, and equity.
- From Innovation to Scale: Advancing the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Young People
This brief reviews components of the approach PSI recommends to reach young people (15-24 years old) with programs that ensure their improved sexual and reproductive health and rights.
- Quality Measurement in Family Planning: Past, Present, Future Papers from the Bellagio Meeting on Family Planning Quality in October 2015
Taken together, the papers in this book provide a comprehensive summary of measurement issues for clinic-based FP quality. Evidence from forty years of implementation and quality assessment show the great amount that has been learned about quality measurement, assurance and improvement. The same evidence shows how much remains to be done to assure that past lessons are incorporated into current practice.
- Expanding Access to Long-acting Reversible Contraceptives and Permanent Methods through Task Sharing
PSI hosted a meeting with USAID and its partners, with the LARC and PM Community of Practice (CoP) to discuss current progress and future opportunities for task sharing.
- Mini Provider Behavior Change Toolkit
This resource accompanies PSI's Provider Behavior Change Toolkit, which offers guidance for the design and management of programs that use Provider Behavior Change Communications (PBCC). It is focused on provider-initiated IUD services.
- MSI Experiences of Task Sharing Tubal Ligation by Clinical Officers in Zambia and Uganda
Task-sharing is needed in Zambia to increase access to permanent FP methods by addressing the shortage of health providers who are able to provide
tubal ligations, especially in rural areas, reducing the burden on the doctors and hospitals, and making use of existing healthcare providers through affordable, in-service training. The Zambia study aimed to show that clinical officers can feasibly provide tubal ligation in Zambia, with similar rationale for the Uganda tubal ligation task-sharing study.
- Intensive Group Learning and On-Site Services to Improve Sexual and Reproductive Health Among Young Adults in Liberia: A Randomized Evaluation of HealthyActions
Combining intensive group learning and provision of on-site reproductive health services through an
existing alternative basic education program increased use of contraception and HIV testing and
counseling among young out-of-school Liberians.
- Optimizing Health Worker Roles To Improve Access to Key Maternal And Newborn Health Interventions Through Task Shifting
The objective of this guidance is to issue evidence-based recommendations to facilitate universal access to key, effective maternal and newborn interventions through the optimization of health worker roles. These recommendations are intended for health policymakers, managers and other stakeholders at a regional, national and international level.
- Research Planning Framework for Task-Sharing Family Planning Services
This tool was developed for country-level policy makers, implementers and researchers to assist in determining whether task-sharing family planning research might be appropriate for their respective context. The purpose of the tool is to help stakeholders evaluate the need to generate task sharing evidence, hence facilitating more effective, efficient and appropriate use of resources. This tool was designed primarily for country-level use, though may be helpful in generating evidence to influence regional or global level task-sharing guidance. In the latter case, it is suggested World Health Organisation (WHO) inclusion criteria be considered for study design.