By Betty Abera, Sr. Marketing Manager, Social Enterprise, PSI; Andrea Novella, Digital Health Advisor, PSI; Vidhi Kalra, Digital Marketing Manager, PSI India; Jorge Rivas, Marketing and Social Franchise Sr. Manager, PSI LAC; Kenneth Kiiza Mulogo, Sales and Marketing Analyst, PSI Uganda
Population Services International (PSI)’s Social Business Unit (SBU), established in 2018, seeks to strike a balance between commercial viability and social impact by delivering high-quality and affordable SRHR products and services through social business in 21 countries across Southeast Asia, East/South Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The SBU’s socially marketed SRHR product offerings include condoms, oral contraceptives, emergency contraceptives, injectables, medical abortion kits, intrauterine devices, and implants.
In March 2020, after COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, many of the countries where PSI’s SBU operates imposed movement restrictions. Such restrictions limited the SBU’s marketing and distribution activities and hampered clients’ ability to travel to physical storefronts to purchase SRHR products. The SBU rapidly adapted to these new conditions by implementing the COVID-19 DAS in 10 countries (India, Uganda, South Africa, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and Dominican Republic) with a plan to expand to additional countries where the SBU operates.
The global DAS aims to leverage a variety of digital channels to safely continue providing consumers with SRHR self-care information through social media campaigns on Facebook and Instagram, connect clients to care through telemedicine and e-counseling platforms, and deliver high-quality products through e-pharmacies, e-retailers, and uber-like applications. When the pandemic hit, consumer engagement on digital channels had increased globally  providing an opportunity for the SBU to leverage digital channels to support business continuity and provision of SRHR information, products, and services.
Moving forward, PSI will also be applying the learnings of the DAS and expanding its offering through the launch of VIYA, its first global sexual wellness lifestyle brand, harnessing technology including artificial intelligence, e-commerce, and telemedicine to deliver SRHR information, products, and services to women across low and middle-income countries.