Every year, hundreds of millions of women in Sub-Sahara Africa travel to their local health clinics to receive regular contraceptive injections. Injectables are popular because they are safe, discrete, highly effective at preventing unintended pregnancy, and last for several months. However, for many women, travelling to a clinic to receive a contraceptive injection is not feasible. The costs of travel are too great; the distance too far; and the time spent away from family or work too great a challenge to overcome.
Sayana Press has the potential to address these problems, and in doing so, bring injectable contraception within reach of women millions of poor women who might not otherwise be able to prevent unintended pregnancies.
Unlike traditional injectables, Sayana Press can be administered by any (non-medical) person who has received minimal training - including community health workers, pharmacists, and crucially, by women themselves. This is because, unlike traditional traditional injectables, Sayana Press has a user-friendly design that makes it safe and easy to use. It is injected just below the skin (subcutaneously) rather than deep into the muscle, and comes in an ‘all in one’ injection system - rather than in a vial with a separate syringe like traditional injectables.
IPPF along with other global service delivery partners, such as Marie Stopes International (MSI), Population Services International (PSI), and PATH are playing an important role in introducing Sayana Press to under-served communities. By using their systems, technical capability, and community-level presence, these partners are galvanising on Sayana Press’s potential role help reduce unmet contraceptive need and reach new users.
Specifically, with support from USAID through SIFPO-2, IPPF's Ugandan Member Association, Reproductive Health Uganda, is leading the introduction of Sayana Press, as part of a comprehensive mix of methods, in four rural districts within Uganda. Public health providers and community workers are trained to counsel women in a full range of family planning methods, and their side-effects, so that they can make a full, informed and voluntary choice.
As regulatory approval for injectables is being granted in more and more countries, there is an opportunity to apply lessons from early-adopter regions where Sayana Press is already being provided. Recently, with support from USAID, IPPF convened a technical workshop with PSI and MSI to collaboratively prioritise the expansion of quality access to Sayana Press, so that more marginalized women with the greatest unmet need for family planning can also benefit from this option. Attendees came from Kenya, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They developed plans and strategies for to increase access to Sayana Press and other methods in their countries.
Together, the efforts of these partners will reduce the unmet need of the 225 million under-served women and girls around the world, who want to use contraception but can’t get it. Sayana Press is part of this puzzle which will improve the lives of these women and girls.