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.
- Mobile Outreach for Family Planning in Rural Niger
This program brief demonstrates how a High Impact Practice can support access to voluntary family planning in fragile and hard-to-reach settings, like rural Niger. It also explores how proven service delivery models can be rolled out and adapted to these contexts.
- Pere Burkinbila Implementation Manual
The implementation manual teaches how to replicate the Pere, Burkinbila, a project that teaches fathers how to talk to their adolescent sons about reproductive health.
- Romaine, une jeune femme entrepreneure
Video of a success story: Romaine is a young entrepreneur from Benin applies what she has learned at the Academie de l'Artisanat to earn moderate income.
- Transform/PHARE Project Fact Sheet
Project fact sheet for Transform/PHARE
- Technical Brief for the Integration of Menstrual Health in SRHR
With this technical brief, which summarises existing literature as well as insights from PSI's network members, the authors hope to support the SRHR work in-country, providing a technical brief for integrating menstrual health in existing SRHR programs.
- Ignite 2018 Annual Report
Project ignite looks further at the total market – informed by rigorous market assessments – and the various actors influencing the end user – to improve and correct underperforming aspects of the market and access to contraception and safe abortion services. This is the 2017 Annual Report that summarizes the key findings, successes, and lessons learned from PSI’s country operations in Haiti, Mozambique, and Cote d’Ivoire, as well as Triggerise’s innovations testing in India and Kenya.
- Didier Comic Book Season 2
This is Season 2 of the Didier Comic Book released in a Facebook series through Transform/PHARE to engage young men in the informal sector on discussion around sexuality, family planning, relationships and more.