Gates Has a New Partner in Push to Advance Injectable Contraceptive

Toward the end of last year, Gates, Pfizer, and the UK-based Children’s Investment Fund Foundation mounted a global campaign to expand access to affordable birth control in nearly 70 developing countries. At the center of that campaign is Sayana Press, a long-lasting injectable contraceptive. PATH, which developed the Press’s simplified syringe oversaw pilot projects in Niger, Burkina Faso, Uganda and Senegal. The results were promising, showing approximately 75 percent of women in Burkina Faso using birth control for the first time, opting to try Sayana Press.

Related: Pfizer Teams Up with Big Partners in Birth Control Expansion

Of course, as a longtime funding favorite of the Gates Foundation, PATH initially received an $11.5 million grant in 2013 to help develop Sayana Press’s simplified syringe, which injects the birth control subcutaneously rather than intramuscularly. And with $3.9 million of help from the Gates Foundation, the U.N. Population Fund is already working with governments to develop policies and guidelines for Sayana Press’s introduction in Niger, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Uganda, and Bangladesh. The foundation previously awarded the fund a $3 million grant for its procurement and delivery of Sayana Press for the pilot programs.

Now, the Gates Foundation is seeking to expand its campaign with a $1.5 million grant to DKT International.

DKT will use the grant money to introduce Sayana Press in urban areas in Nigeria with a specific focus on Lagos and Ibadan. The focus here is on informing the private sector about how to expand Sayana Press’s use.

The Gates Foundation has been funding DKT's sexual and reproductive health work since 1999, when it awarded the organization $4.3 million to reduce infant mortality and HIV transmission among adolescents in Ethiopia. Beginning in 2001, Gates began supporting DKT's work specifically related to birth control and family planning. The latest $1.5 million grant is the first of such grants related to the promotion of Sayana Press, bringing Gates’s total support of DKT to date at just over $15 million.

The recent grant to DKT comes out of the foundation’s Family Health: Family Planning program, which has been showing signs of ramping up from 15 grants awarded in 2012 to 43 last year.