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.
In Senegal, the modern contraceptive prevalence rate (mCPR) doubled within a decade, rising from 10% in 2005 to 21.2% in 2015. This increase has placed Senegal at the forefront of the international family planning movement.
The country has adopted a vision for family planning based on what’s knowns as the three Ds—democratization, decentralization, and demedicalization—and has set a very ambitious goal to reach 45% mCPR by 2020.
One of the guiding principles of Senegal’s Ministry of Health and Social Action (MOHSA) is to ensure the availability of a wide range of contraceptive methods at all levels of health service. This involves introducing as many new high-quality contraceptive products as possible both in public health facilities and at the community level.
De 2005 à 2015 au Sénégal, le taux de prévalence contraceptive est passé de 10% (EDS 2005) à 21,2% (FP2020). Une véritable révolution qui a placé le Senegal au-devant de la scène internationale.
Le pays a adopté une vision pour la Planification Familiale : les 3 D (Démocratisation – Décentralisation - Démédicalisation) et s’est fixé un objectif ambitieux d’atteindre un taux de prévalence de 45% en 2020. Un bien grand défi !
L’un des principes directeurs du Ministère de la santé et de l’Action Sociale est de garantir la disponibilité d’une gamme variée de méthodes contraceptives a tous les niveaux. Cela implique des efforts pour élargir la gamme disponible de méthodes contraceptives en introduisant autant que possible de nouveaux produits contraceptifs à la fois dans les points de prestations du public et au niveau communautaire.
The EECO team hopes that targeted marketing and education will lead to an increased interest in female condom products, and thus more protected sex. Photo: PSI
Imagine a woman named Cynthia who lives in Malawi.
Cynthia’s boyfriend Ben doesn’t like to use condoms. And she doesn’t feel like she can insist on condom use. At 20 years old, Cynthia dreams of finishing her studies before having kids. She doesn’t want to get pregnant right now, or risk contracting HIV. Without the use of condoms, Cynthia feels she has few options.
Cynthia is an archetype, a fictional character typical of a broader group. Globally, there are many women like Cynthia who lack negotiating power within their relationship to insist on condom use. Women account for just over half of the 37 million people worldwide who are living with HIV or AIDS1. In sub-Saharan Africa, the rate of new infection disproportionately affects women, with the highest burden among young women ages 15-242. Condoms are a well-known method of preventing both sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy, but for many women, this isn’t an option. Due to this gender-based inequality, there is a dire need for methods that are woman-initiated.
The idea of male contraception has been around for 60 years. Gregory Pincus, the co-inventor of the female contraceptive pill, tested the same hormonal approach on men in 1957, and various hormonal and non-hormonal methods have been explored since. Based on side effects and other research complications, there are still only two reliable, non-hormonal contraceptives on the market for men today: condoms and vasectomy.