Martins Ifijeh

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) have announced a multi-year extension of their collaboration to further broaden access to Pfizer’s all-in-one injectable contraceptive, Sayana Press (medroxyprogesterone acetate), for women most in need in some of the world’s poorest countries.

As part of the partnership, Sayana Press will now be available to qualified purchasers at a guaranteed price of U.S. $0.85 per dose, a reduction from the previous price of U.S. $1.00 per dose.

The collaboration, which is significant for Nigeria and other developing countries, aims to have more women access to Sayana Press.

Sharing his thoughts during the announcement of the collaboration in New York, United States, the President, Pfizer Essential Health, John Young said, “our hope is that more women in the developing world will now have access to Sayana Press, as an option, to meet their specific family planning needs.

“We have seen the impact of our work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and other collaborating organisations, and look forward to our continued efforts to enable wider availability of Sayana Press. By improving access to contraceptive options, we can help empower women most in need to better plan their families.”

According to him, a consortium of organisations from the public and private sector first collaborated in 2014 to assess demand for Sayana Press. Adding that initial pilots conducted in Niger, Senegal and Uganda demonstrated strong demand for Sayana Press among younger women; up to 34 per cent of doses administered across these three countries were women between the ages of 20 and 24. “Sayana Press is also attracting women who have never before used contraceptives, with 24- 42 per cent doses given across the pilots received by new users of family planning,” he added.

He said by the end of 2016, 6.4 million units of Sayana Press were shipped to 20 developing world countries, potentially reaching more than 1.5 million women – up from 350,000 women at the end of 2014. “Pfizer is continuing to make investments in its manufacturing facilities to meet the expected increase in market demand.

“Sayana Press combines a longer-acting, reversible contraceptive with the BD Unijecinjection system developed by BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company). This all-in-one pre-filled, single-use, auto-disable system eliminates the need to prepare a needle and syringe. It also allows the contraceptive to be administered by a health worker outside of a clinical setting, or it can be self-injected if approved locally and after healthcare worker instruction,” he added.

The Vice President, Global Health for BD, Renuka Gadde says the efforts at scaling the programme should be commended, as this will help women all over the world make choices on how to plan and space their families.

The Executive Director, CIFF, Alvaro Bermejo said: “Contraceptives are highly cost-effective health investments which save lives. If every girl and woman who wanted to use modern contraception was able to, we could prevent 170,000 maternal deaths and around 1.6 million newborn deaths each year.

The consortium of public- and private-sector donors and aid organisations supporting this effort includes BD, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).