Contraceptive Technology Innovation

Personal insights from and for the global public health community

Read the latest K4Health Blog posts by technical experts at K4Health and colleagues from collaborating organizations for commentary. If something strikes a chord with you, leave a comment and spark a discussion!

  • Blog post

    This piece was originally published by PSI's blog, Impact.

    PSI product registration

    Ensuring access to a broad range of methods is a critical component of meeting women's family planning needs. ©PSI/Conner Varin

    New contraceptive products have the potential to help women and girls plan the families and lives they desire. Among the 214 million women in developing countries with an unmet need for family planning, many cite method-related reasons for not using contraception. Some women want methods with different side effects, or no side effects at all. Others need discreet methods, or methods they can use while breastfeeding. Ensuring that women have access to a broad range of methods is one critical component of meeting their contraceptive needs. In almost all...

  • Blog post

    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.

    The female condom is currently the only woman-controlled contraceptive method that offers triple protection against unintended pregnancy, HIV, and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Some research also shows that the female condom reaches women who are less likely to use other dual-protection...

  • Blog post
    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...

  • Blog post
    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...

  • Blog post
    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...

Topic last updated: May 22, 2019