Contraceptive Technology Innovation

  • Contraceptive Technology Innovation

    Danielle Harris

    WCG Cares | Program Manager

    Ashley Jackson

    PSI | EECO Project Deputy Director

    This post originally appeared on the PSI Impact blog.

    EECO female condom marketing

    © PSI/Gareth Bentley

    Gloria dreams of a contraceptive and HIV prevention method that she can control. As a university student in Zambia, Gloria goes on dates in between working and studying. Some of the men have potential. She could imagine marrying one of them and having children together someday. Gloria relies on her partners to use male condoms—but sometimes they don’t, leaving her frustrated and scared.

  • Contraceptive Technology Innovation

    Danielle Harris

    WCG Cares | Program Manager

    Ashley Jackson

    PSI | EECO Project Deputy Director
    EECO female condom shopkeeper

    PSI/Gareth Bentley

    This post originally appeared on the PSI Impact blog.

    Clara took a chance and bought 15 units of Whisper, a new female condom, to sell in her small shop in the fast-growing city of Mzuzu, Malawi. She was willing to test demand for the product in hopes of helping women in her community while also boosting her business.

    “I became a single mother myself before I was ready to have a child,” Clara explains. “I wish there were more options for women to protect themselves.”

    Clara learned about the Whisper Woman’s Condom from Kitty, a medical detailer who visited the shop. Kitty described how the product was different from earlier generations of the female condom, with new features designed to make it easy and comfortable to use. Female condoms like Whisper are the only woman-controlled method that provides triple protection against unintended pregnancy, HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

  • Contraceptive Technology Innovation

    Julia Bunting

    Population Council | President

    Laneta Dorflinger, PhD

    FHI 360 | Distinguished Scientist and Director, Contraceptive Technology Innovation
    A woman and her infant in Mexico.

    A woman and her infant in Mexico. © 2000 Rick Maiman, Courtesy of Photoshare

    This “Why do we need contraceptive technology innovation?” blog series has showcased the critical need for new approaches in contraception development and some of the most exciting advances in process. We’ve highlighted upcoming technologies—from biodegradable implants, microneedle patches, and male contraceptives to vaginal rings, cervical mucus fortifiers, and mobile phone applications. We’ve explored innovations beyond technology, including the importance of placing the needs and preferences of end users at the forefront when starting any new product development and we’ve considered what it takes to scale up contraceptive access and actually get new technologies to end-users.

    But there is still so much work left to do.

  • Contraceptive Technology Innovation

    Babitha George

    Quicksand | Partner

    Anna Lawton

    FHI 360 | Cultural Analyst/Ethnographer
    why family planning

    Illustration: Emmanuel Nyakwada

    When it comes to female contraceptive products, innovation has been more evolutionary than revolutionary. With high unmet need still present, a huge opportunity exists to look at new ways to design products that respond to women’s needs and preferences, rather than forcing women to change their behaviors to suit existing products.

    Human-centered design (HCD, also known as “user-centered” design) is a creative, solutions-based approach to problem-solving that puts “users” (in our case, women) at the center of the product design process. Users are actively engaged at every step to ensure their needs and expectations inform the design. We do this by testing the validity of our assumptions with users themselves, in an iterative fashion. This also allows us to move beyond the existing conditions of “what is” to the forward-thinking potential of “what if?” with sensitivity and empathy.

  • Contraceptive Technology Innovation

    Saumya RamaRao

    Population Council | Senior Associate

    Loreley Villamide-Herrera

    Population Council | Biomedical Program Manager
    Vaginal rings are a novel drug delivery platform unlike other forms of existing contraceptives.

    Vaginal rings are a novel drug delivery platform unlike other forms of existing contraceptives. Photo by James DeGroat, courtesy of the Population Council.

    Expanding contraceptive options for voluntary family planning is critical for three reasons. First, different people have different needs for pregnancy protection depending on their own individual and family situations. Further, a woman’s needs may change as she progresses through her reproductive life. With that in mind, family planning programs that focus on high-quality services and human rights should offer a wide range of contraceptive options to meet her needs, wherever she’s at in life.