In 2015, we distributed 24,815,155 cycles of oral contraceptives (OCs). This prevented 564,951 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), provided 1,654,344 couple years of protection (CYPs) , and prevented 377,954 unintended pregnancies. We began socially marketing oral contraceptives in Bangladesh in 1976, and currently work with oral contraceptives in 25 countries.
The key to a successful family planning program lies in offering a wide range of contraceptive options to meet the diverse needs and wishes of clients. Oral contraceptives are a popular method among women and couples around the world. They are a highly effective, reversible and safe method of preventing unintended pregnancy.
There are two types of oral contraceptives:
- Combined oral contraceptives contain low doses of two synthetic hormones, estrogen and progestin, which simulate the natural hormones estrogen and progesterone. They work primarily by preventing the release of eggs from the ovaries (ovulation). Combined oral contraceptives are also called “the pill,” low-dose combined pills, oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) and OCs.
- Progestin-only pills contain very low doses of progestin and do not contain estrogen. For this reason, they provide a suitable option for women throughout breastfeeding and can be used by women who cannot use methods with estrogen. They work primarily by thickening cervical mucus (this blocks sperm from meeting an egg) and can prevent ovulation. Progestin-only pills are also called “mini pills” or progestin-only oral contraceptives.
PSI’s marketing strategies for oral contraceptives help inform consumers to create demand by addressing the key barriers that prevent women from using oral contraceptives. We then work with providers in the following ways to meet demand with quality products and services:
- Ensuring that health service providers at all relevant levels are knowledgeable about the full range of contraceptive options and are able to present them within the context of informed choice. Service providers can include doctors, nurses, midwives, community health workers and pharmacists. They are often the first points of contact for clients interested in learning about family planning.
- Training service providers in family planning counseling and method administration, including community-based distribution of oral contraceptives and other short-acting methods as authorized by local health authorities.
- Deploying medical detailers to visit service providers at their workplaces to learn what information and support they need to offer a broad method mix.
Making a Difference
Given the low cost to produce oral contraceptives and the well established market for these products, PSI is exploring opportunities for the development and introduction of more affordable oral contraceptive brands. PSI is currently launching a third generation oral contraceptive called Meuri in countries like Haiti and Angola, among others.
- Adolescents 360: A Girl with a Plan!
This two-pager provides a dive into Adolescents 360’s efforts to reimagine how adolescent girls aged 15-19 access reproductive health services across Tanzania, Nigeria and Ethiopia.
- Transform/PHARE Niger Segmentation Findings
Quantitative analysis of men’s attitudes and behaviors related to contraception and family planning leading to behavioral/-attitudinal segmentation in Niger
- Transform/PHARE Project Fact Sheet
Project fact sheet for Transform/PHARE
- HCD Religious Leaders, Volumes I, II and III
Summary of Human Centered Design (HCD) process, to engage Religious Leaders in the Zinder region of Niger
- Strengthening Mozambique’s Family Planning Market: A Way Forward
Total Market Approach report on family planning
- National Demand Analysis – Quantitative Study and Target Group Segmentation
Randomized, nationwide representative study of FP needs and analysis of behaviors and attitudes of women.
- National Demand Analysis – Qualitative Assessment
Qualitative analysis of family planning needs in Cote d’Ivoire to inform quantitative research leading to behavioral/attitudinal segmentation.
- Burkinabe Men’s Engagement in Family Planning
Summary state of family planning in Burkina Faso as well as the role of men and potential areas for intervention.
- HCD Young Women Benin
The report summarizes the HCD process, describing insights gained from interaction with the target group and opportunity areas, that translated into protoyping ideas.
- 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.