Today, PATH celebrates another milestone in the pathway toward providing more women and girls access to voluntary family planning. Pfizer Inc., the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) have agreed to a new public-private collaboration through which Sayana® Press will be sold for US$1 per dose to qualified purchasers. The agreement will help ensure that women in the world’s 69 poorest countries have access to this new contraceptive option at reduced or no cost.
This announcement builds on the momentum of an ongoing Sayana Press introduction program coordinated by PATH which includes four countries in sub-Saharan Africa (Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, and Uganda). A pilot introduction project in Bangladesh is also being coordinated by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Women in Burkina Faso, Niger, and Uganda have started using this safe and effective contraceptive option, the first to do so in sub-Saharan Africa, through existing family planning programs.
PATH is working side-by-side with ministries of health and local partners on the country-led introductions in sub-Saharan Africa. “Sayana® Press is now an option for women who have been at the margins of family planning access for way too long,” said Dr. Cathy Ndiaye, PATH’s project manager for the product introduction in Senegal. “I am hopeful that this new agreement increases sustained availability of Sayana® Press for any woman who chooses to use it.”
The current introductions are supported by a consortium of public and private partners that include CIFF, the Gates Foundation, the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), USAID, and Pfizer.
Sayana® Press was first launched in Burkina Faso in July, and subsequently in Niger and Uganda. Government officials and health workers have expressed excitement about the potential for Sayana® Press introduction efforts to reach women who previously faced challenges accessing family planning. Women in rural and hard-to-reach areas in particular must often travel long distances to reach family planning clinics that offer injectable contraception.
In Uganda, for example, national and community health workers have welcomed the potential for Sayana® Press to reduce access barriers for women. “Sayana® Press will contribute to the reduction of unmet need for family planning in Uganda, because it will be accessible to the rural community,” said a national trainer for Uganda’s Ministry of Health.
Senegal is preparing to launch Sayana® Press before the end of 2014. “I believe Sayana Press will transform women's lives, especially in rural areas,” said Dr. Bocar Mamadou Daff, director of the Reproductive Health and Child Survival Unit for the Senegal Ministry of Health.
Preliminary data from Burkina Faso indicate that Sayana® Press is starting to increase access to family planning. The proportion of Sayana® Press users, nearly 6,000 documented so far, who are also new users of family planning, is especially high in rural districts of Burkina Faso—up to 76 percent in two of the pilot districts. More than 2,700 health providers in Burkina Faso, Niger, and Uganda have been trained to administer Sayana® Press so far. By the end of the pilot introductions across the four countries in sub-Saharan Africa, approximately 8,000 health care providers will be trained.
PATH’s Sayana® Press story began decades ago, when PATH first developed the Uniject™ injection system to make injections simpler and safer in low-resource settings. The Uniject™ device has been licensed to Becton, Dickinson and Company. Sayana® Press is packaged in Uniject™, combining one dose of the contraceptive and a single-use needle in one device. This streamlined design makes it easier for trained community health workers to safely provide injections in clinics, community locations, or villages.
As access to Sayana® Press increases worldwide—thanks to the new price point—the pilot introductions are even more important, providing valuable information to additional countries whose ministries of health wish to add Sayana® Press to their menu of family planning options under the new initiative. The lessons learned will help take this important innovation to scale faster, giving millions more women access to family planning that meets their needs, wherever they live.
Posted November 13, 2014.