Price of ‘exciting’ self-injectable contraceptive cut

The price of an innovative device which allows women to give themselves a contraceptive jab has been cut.  Sayana Press has mostly been used by women in developing countries, as part of a global push to expand access to modern contraception. Working in collaboration with donor organisations has enabled the drug company Pfizer to drop the price from $1 a unit to $0.85 per dose. The move comes ahead of a big summit on family planning in London this summer. The summit, which will track progress from a similar event five years ago, will be watched closely because of recent cuts to global aid for family planning by the Trump administration. Sayana Press dispenses with the need for a conventional needle and syringe – so it has been seen as a significant development for women living in rural parts of Africa. The long-acting progesterone-based contraceptive, which provides contraceptive cover for three months at a time, is licensed for use by the NHS in the UK – but Pfizer admits that uptake here has been “modest”. The pre-packaged, single-use jab is now thought to have reached more than 1.5m women in countries such as Uganda and Burkina Faso.  A long-term commitment to helping fund this programme – by organisations including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation – has helped drive the price down.  In Uganda, one of four pilot countries, 160,673 doses of Sayana Press were handed out during the past two years. Dr Dinah Nakiganda-Busiku, from the Uganda Ministry of Health, said: “Women told us that self-injecting gave them more privacy. “We hope to now make this part of our public procurement plan, so we don’t have to rely on donors.” One user from a small village in northern Uganda, a mother-of-two called Ms Fiona, described how previously she had had to take a long motorcycle trip to reach a clinic. She said: “Last July, one of the health workers told me I could inject myself – and she trained me. “I now feel more in charge of my life and my future as a mother.”

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