Contraceptive Implants

  • Blog post
    A family planning client in Nigeria has her contraceptive implant inserted by MSI providers

    A family planning client in Nigeria has her contraceptive implant inserted by MSI providers.

    © Marie Stopes International/Glenna

    As the sun rises in Abjua, Nigeria, and the cool, dry air gives way to the heat of the day, an MSI clinical team packs up their 4x4 vehicle with a week’s worth of medical supplies and personal items for the long journey ahead. One team will head north to Kaduna state to work alongside public-sector providers delivering long-acting and permanent methods (LAPMs) of family planning in districts where access to LAPMs is almost non-existent and family planning clients have limited choice in contraceptive methods. Another team, leaving from Enugu, will head south to Abia state to offer clinical and management support to BlueStar clinics, part of MSI’s 257-member social franchise network in Nigeria and MSI’s fastest-growing service delivery channel with more than 3,000 BlueStar clinics across 17 countries.

    Much has changed in the family planning landscape since my time as a Peace Corps volunteer. From 1992–1994, I lived and worked in Iboko village in Nigeria’s southeast region, now Ebonyi State. While my volunteer work focused on Guinea Worm eradication, issues around childbirth, contraception, and family size were omnipresent. I remember being impressed to see a large shrine in front of a family compound symbolizing a woman chief, only to learn this honor was earned by having 10 or more children. High birth rates, limited contraceptive availability, lack of trained providers in rural settings, and cultural/religious barriers contributed to women’s challenges in empowerment and decision-making about their fertility.

  • Woman displays contraceptive implant in Cambodia

     

    A family planning client in Kampong Thom, Cambodia, displays her contraceptive implant insertion site.

    © 2012 Marcel Reyners, Courtesy of Photoshare

  • Blog post

    Hot on the heels of a partnership agreement to reduce the price of the long-acting, contraceptive implant Jadelle by half (see my blog of February 22), comes  an announcement by Merck (MSD) and partners to reduce the cost of IMPLANON® and its next generation IMPLANON NXT® by 50% for the next six years in 70 of the poorest countries around the world. Implanon® is the only single-rod, long-acting reversible contraceptive implant (Jadelle has two rods). It offers three years of pregnancy protection through a one-time single insertion by a trained health care worker. “Notably, IMPLANON and its next generation IMPLANON NXT® are pre-packaged and fully sterilized, making them easy and convenient to insert, including in settings with limited health care infrastructure,” according to the announcement. (Learn more about Implanon and two other hormonal implants, Jadelle and Sino-implant (II), at K4Health’s Implants Toolkit.)

    Woman displays contraceptive implant in Cambodia

     

    A family planning client in Kampong Thom, Cambodia, displays her contraceptive implant insertion site.

    © 2012 Marcel Reyners, Courtesy of Photoshare

    MSD and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are direct parties to the agreement. Other facilitating parties include the Clinton Health Access Initiative, the governments of Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Sweden, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

    According to a USAID press release about the earlier Jadelle price reductions, about 600 million women in the developing world use some form of contraception, but only 1% to 2% of them are using long-acting, contraceptive implants. Surveys show that as many as 20% would prefer them, if they were available.  An article published in the Global Health: Science and Practice Journal (co-published by USAID and the K4Health Project) explains that if 1 of 5 women in sub-Saharan Africa who were currently using pills or injectables switched to the more effective contraceptive implants, more than 1.8 million unintended pregnancies would be averted in 5 years, resulting in 10,000 fewer maternal deaths and almost 600,000 fewer abortions.

    Now with the cost of all three implants on par at about US$8 per set, there is a tremendous opportunity to provide modern contraceptives at low cost to the 222 million women—73% of whom live in developing countries—who want, but don’t have access to, them.

  • Jadelle ® levonorgestrel contraceptive implants

    Jadelle ® levonorgestrel contraceptive implants.

  • Blog post

    Dr. Jim Shelton's Pearls is an occasional series by USAID’s Global Health Science Advisor that answers commonly asked questions about family planning. 

    Question:  Contraceptive implants are becoming very popular in our program here [at USAID], but we are especially concerned about unintended pregnancy among young women. Do you think they are suitable and popular for young women?