The Uniject injection system with a short needle for subcutaneous contraceptive injection.
Providing contraception in the Uniject™ injection system
Using the Uniject prefilled injection system to deliver injectable contraception may help to increase women’s access to family planning services in developing countries. Currently, about 200 million women worldwide can’t get these services.
Lack of access to family planning options—and especially woman-initiated methods—in poor countries means that women are more likely to die from problems related to pregnancy and childbirth. In sub-Saharan Africa, where health services are especially scarce, a woman’s lifetime risk of dying as a result of getting pregnant is 1 in 22. The good news is that about one in three maternal deaths can be avoided by delaying motherhood, spacing births, preventing unintended pregnancy, and avoiding unsafely performed abortions.
Improving access to contraception
Injectable contraceptives such as Depo-Provera® are increasingly popular with women around the globe. One injection every three months provides a safe, effective, reversible, and discreet method to prevent pregnancy. Many women, however, cannot routinely get to clinics that offer this form of contraception, while others start using the method but stop because they cannot return to the clinic.
Sayana® Press (formerly known as depo-subQ provera 104™ in Uniject™), a new subcutaneous formulation that will soon be available in the Uniject injection system, promises to help improve women’s access to injectable contraceptives. Administering the contraceptive via the Uniject injection system may not only strengthen clinics' injection services but also make it easier for injectable contraceptives to be given safely and effectively outside the clinics. Because the prefilled Uniject injection system is easy to use, health workers at lower levels of the health system may be better able to give injections in convenient community locations or in clients’ homes.
Commitment to increasing access
In July 2012, the London Summit on Family Planning launched a new coordinated effort to ensure that voluntary family planning services reach an additional 120 million women and girls in the world’s poorest countries by 2020. More than 150 leaders from donor and developing countries, international agencies, civil society, foundations, and the private sector pledged their support to improving access to family planning information, services, and supplies.
As part of this event, public and private partners announced plans to reach women in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia between 2013 and 2016 with up to 12 million doses of Sayana Press. The Sayana Press pilot introduction partnership includes the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Pfizer Inc., and PATH.
As a result of the Summit on Family Planning commitment, PATH and partners are launching an initiative to support pilot introduction of Sayana Press in four to six countries between 2013 and 2016. The project aims to make Sayana Press available through normal delivery channels and build the evidence base for decision-making about whether and how countries can include Sayana Press in family planning programs in the future. The 12 million pilot introduction units of Sayana Press are being procured by donors involved in the Summit on Family Planning.
This pilot introduction will complement small-scale Sayana Press acceptability studies and operational assessments taking place through mid-2013 in Senegal and Uganda. These studies will generate information concerning the acceptability of Sayana Press among clients and a range of health care providers, including community-based workers.
Uniject is a trademark of BD. Depo-Provera, depo-subQ provera 104, and Sayana Press are trademarks of Pfizer.
Photo: PATH/Patrick McKern.