Access to safe and effective methods of family planning is fundamental to health, education, economic opportunities, and empowerment. Access, however, must mean more than having products present on shelves (although it has to mean that too). To achieve what might be coined as “transformational access,” a level of sustainable access that truly meets the needs of women, we need products that are easier to use, readily fit with women’s lives and preferences, and don’t create their own barriers to continued use. Unfortunately, this is the challenge for millions of women globally who struggle with side effects associated with hormonal methods, particularly changes in menstrual bleeding patterns, which are strongly associated with method discontinuation. While these are among the most effective and safest pharmaceutical products that have ever been developed, they also present women with the regular decision to use a product that presents daily challenges in their life. For this reason, discovery of non-steroidal contraceptive drugs has long been something of a holy grail in contraceptive R&D.
Contraceptive implants have been available for over 30 years and are one of the most effective methods available. Until recently, however, international donors did not procure significant quantities, and use of the method in low- and middle-income countries was very low. This access barrier was largely due to the high cost of implant commodities. The situation mirrored the classic, paradoxical question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? In this case, without lower commodity prices, procurements of implants would not increase in many international settings. But without higher volumes, manufacturers couldn’t lower their prices and still achieve a sustainable business model.
Tamunotonye Harry is a Nigerian-based digital health advocate who has completed several courses through K4Health’s Global Health eLearning platform. Photo Credit: Carrot Photography.
Tamunotonye Harry is a young digital health professional based in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. After learning about the Global Health eLearning Center (GHeL) and taking a course on digital health, Tamunotonye connected with K4Health for information about our Global Digital Health Network. In this lightly edited interview, Tamunotonye explains how discovering GHeL has influenced his career path in a positive way.
How did your experience in the National Youth Service Corps engage you in mHealth work?
Tamunotonye Harry: I graduated from the University of Port Harcourt with a degree in Human Physiology in 2015. I had to wait a whole year before I was finally accepted into the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). The one-year gap was actually a blessing as I used this time to gain work and volunteer experience, which involved building capacity for children with disabilities.
This piece originally appeared on the Initiative for Multipurpose Prevention Technologies (IMPT)'s blog.
Incorporating what women want into new sexual and reproductive health products is essential. Photo: PATH/Will Boase
We at PATH make it our business to reflect on the elusive topic of "what women want"—in terms of protection options in their sexual and reproductive lives. Not surprisingly, the answer is complex. Women want and need different things at different stages of their lifecycle, depending on the circumstances of their lives.
For decades, PATH has worked closely with women and girls in low-resource settings, as well as with diverse partner organizations, to develop, introduce, and scale up innovative technologies that improve women’s health. Our efforts include a strong focus on advancing women’s reproductive health literacy and decision-making autonomy not only as fundamental rights, but also as key building blocks to product uptake and effective use.
Most evidence shows access to quality maternal health services — even the most basic services — requires many personal sacrifices for women and girls around the world, especially in poor or remote communities where there may not be doctors or primary health facilities.
Participants enjoy a proverb icebreaker exercise at the start of the Share Fair. Photo: Zwade Studio
The K4Health Project has hosted a number of share fairs since our initial Global Health Knowledge Management Share Fair, which was held in Washington, D.C., in April 2013. Our guide walking others through the process of hosting a share fair, How to Hold a Successful Share Fair, is even in its second edition. Although I attended our first share fair, I was not closely involved in the planning process. So when I had the opportunity to be part of a small planning team for a share fair being held in the Caribbean region, I was eager to contribute to our growing body of knowledge on planning an effective share fair.
Management Sciences for Health (MSH) | Senior Manager, Knowledge Management and Learning
GHKC's KM Indicator Library
For international development programs to be effective, maximize performance, and be better stewards of resources, they must be able to successfully adapt in response to changes and new information. The ability to do so requires accepting that programmatic change does not usually follow linear and predictable paths, giving way to an environment that promotes learning and to a project design that is flexible. This flexibility minimizes the obstacles to program modifications and creates the space for adaptive management.
Due to forecasted snowfall in the DC area, we are postponing the “Tools to Build Better Programs” workshop until Thursday, March 29, 8:30am – 1:00pm. This event will be held in Washington, DC at the FHI 360 conference center.
Two ways to use CycleBeads: the physical product and the app. Courtesy of Cycle Technologies, Inc.
Millions of women in low- and middle-income countries have used evidence-based fertility awareness methods over the past several years. Most of them have used CycleBeads®, a low-cost, easy-to-use way for a woman to track her menstrual cycles and determine whether she is on a fertile day. CycleBeads are based on the Standard Days Method®, which has been proven over 95% effective in perfect use and 88% effective in typical use. It’s designed for women with cycles between 26-32 days long. CycleBeads has been widely successful because of its ease of use (it relies only on period tracking), lack of side effects, and its acceptability in a range of cultural contexts.