Based on evidence and experience, countries worldwide are adding the option of DMPA-SC self-injection to their contraceptive method mix.
Self-injection has the potential to reduce access-related barriers for women, increase contraceptive continuation rates, and enhance women’s autonomy. There are strong data that women, including women in low-resource settings, can self-administer DMPA-SC safely and effectively, and that they like doing so.
The Access Collaborative provides free data-driven technical assistance (TA), coordination, resources, and tools to ensure that women and girls have increased access to DMPA-SC and self-injection as part of an expanded range of contraceptive methods, delivered through informed choice programming.
In addition to general information and evidence on DMPA-SC, partners can access the support outlined in the menu below by submitting a request through the technical assistance request form, also linked below. Your request can be submitted by emailing the completed form to FPoptions@path.org.
This DMPA-SC Advocacy Pack brief details the strong body of evidence and experience with self-injection of DMPA-SC, including how the practice can reduce access-related barriers, improve contraceptive continuation, and enhance women’s autonomy.
On March 21, 2023, the DMPA-SC Access Collaborative hosted this webinar highlighting the strengths and gaps of monitoring scale-up in the context of efforts to institutionalize DMPA-SC and self-injection in national family planning programs. The discussion focused on findings from Madagascar, Nigeria, Uganda, and Zambia, touching upon national goals for DMPA-SC, in-country perspectives on the value proposition of DMPA-SC, and suggested indicators for use in tracking the scale-up of a new product.
The DMPA-SC Access Collaborative has produced the brief and program design guide linked below to support countries and partners that are planning and rolling out DMPA-SC self-injection as part of an expanded range of contraceptive methods delivered through informed choice programming.
The Recommendations for Contraceptive Self-Injection brief summarizes the latest key findings, insights and recommendations the AC has accumulated through six years of technical assistance to ministries and partners engaged in self-injection program introduction and scale-up. These practices should be universally considered and implemented to increase family planning program success.
The Contraceptive Self-Injection Program Design Guide is a comprehensive tool that outlines optimal program models for DMPA-SC self-injection. It was originally developed in 2020 based on the self-injection program rollout in Uganda, the first country in sub-saharan Africa to offer contraceptive self-injection outside of a research setting. The guide has been updated in 2022 to reflect subsequent learnings, evidence, and data from scale-up efforts. The program design guide:
Walks users through each step of a self-injection program, including all components related to health workers and clients.
Highlights essential evidence on self-injection program design.
Establishes areas where more research is needed.
Draws attention to key moments for program design decision-making.
Links users to additional resources and tools for program development.
Contraceptive self-injection (SI) is a new self-care practice with potential to transform women’s family planning access by putting a popular method, injectable contraception, directly into the hands of users. Research shows that SI is feasible and acceptable; evidence regarding how to design and implement SI programs under real-world conditions is still needed. This evaluation examined women’s experiences when self-injection of subcutaneous depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA-SC) was introduced in Uganda alongside other contraceptive options in the context of informed choice. We conducted structured survey interviews with 958 randomly selected SI clients trained in three districts in 2019. SI clients demonstrated their injection technique on a model to permit an assessment of injection proficiency. A randomly selected subset of 200 were re-interviewed 10–17 months post-training to understand resupply experiences, waste disposal practices and continuation. Finally, we conducted survey interviews with a random sample of 200 clients who participated in training but declined to self-inject. Data were analyzed using Stata IC/14.2. Differences between groups were measured using chi square and t-tests. Multivariate analyses predicting injection proficiency and SI adoption employed mixed effects logistic regression. Nearly three quarters of SI clients (73%) were able to demonstrate injection proficiency without additional instruction from a provider. Years of education, having received a complete training, practicing, and taking home a job aid were associated with higher odds of proficiency. Self-reported satisfaction and continuation were high, with 93% reinjecting independently 3 months post-training. However, a substantial share of those trained opted not to self-inject. Being single, having a partner supportive of family planning use, training with a job aid, practicing, witnessing a demonstration and exposure to a full training were associated with higher odds of becoming an SI client; conversely, those trained in a group had reduced odds of becoming an SI client. The self-care program was successful for the majority of women who became self-injectors, enabling most women to demonstrate SI proficiency. Nearly all those who opted to self-inject reinjected independently, and the majority continued self-injecting for at least 1 year. Additional research should identify strategies to facilitate adoption by women who wish to self-inject but face challenges.
Lessons learned from training and support for health workers in the public and private sectors
Malawi has made significant progress in scaling up DMPA-SC and self-injection in the public sector with 100% of service delivery points activated. The country has also learned valuable lessons through private sector pilots and is in the process of finalizing new guidelines to authorize pharmacies and drugstores to provide self-injection training to clients. The country’s approach is widely appreciated as an example of effective government-led and partner-supported scale-up involving both the public and private sector.
This webinar hosted by the PATH-JSI DMPA-SC Access Collaborative Learning and Action Network on August 3, 2022 featured public and private partners’ insights on national scale-up of DMPA-SC and self-injection, with a focus on provider training and supportive supervision as well as strong cross-sectoral partnerships. Speakers included representatives from the Malawi Ministry of Health Reproductive Health Directorate, Clinton Health Access Initiative, FHI 360, and Population Services International.
Drawing from program data and research, panelists discussed practical lessons learned from Malawi’s national scale-up of public-sector provider training, public provider reflections on integrating self-injection, and experiences from a private sector provider training pilot. These lessons may benefit governments and public and private partners in other contexts who are in the process of introducing or scaling up DMPA-SC for self-injection.
In recent years, Ministries of Health and organizations have leveraged the Catalytic Opportunity Fund (COF) to make significant contributions to the national introduction and scale-up of DMPA-SC and self-injection. A rapid funding mechanism that supports short-term DMPA-SC scale-up activities that unlock or generate additional resources, the COF is administered by the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and managed by the DMPA-SC Operations Group.*
This DMPA-SC Learning and Action Network (LAN) webinar held on July 7, 2022 featured successful COF grantees in the DRC, Rwanda, and Zambia. Speakers highlighted considerations for pharmacy and drug shop introduction, recommendations, and lessons from the DMPA-SC Access Collaborative’s experience in Zambia, inroads made by Pathfinder and Tulane university in the DRC, and early insights from Kasha’s last-mile family planning services delivery in Rwanda.
*The DMPA-SC Operations Group, convened by the Access Collaborative under the oversight of the DMPA-SC Donor Consortium, is a coordinating mechanism to proactively manage and reactively respond to both operational and service delivery issues arising from efforts to introduce, scale up, and ultimately increase access to DMPA-SC and self-injection.
This webinar held on February 23, 2022 was hosted by Expanding Effective Contraceptive Options (EECO) led by WCG Cares with PSI and the DMPA-SC Access Collaborative led by PATH in partnership with JSI. The discussion focused on the introduction and scale up of self-care family planning methods in sub-Saharan Africa, highlighting lessons and best practices from DMPA-SC scale-up and Caya® diaphragm pilot introductions in French-speaking West Africa. Presenters from Benin, Niger, and Senegal shared successes and challenges. This webinar was offered in French.
The private sector holds great potential to reduce unmet need for family planning, and many countries are poised to adopt a total market approach for increasing contraceptive access through private pharmacies and drug shops. Policies supporting scale-up of family planning service provision and expanding method options such as DMPA-SC self-injection, must be prioritized in these entities.
The PATH-JSI DMPA-SC Access Collaborative and partners have gained valuable insights with relevance to private sector engagement on self-injection. This webinar held February 15, 2022 highlighted lessons learnt, challenges, recommendations, and considerations for policies supporting private sector engagement in self-injection in different country contexts. Specific topics included:
Financing and commodity production ecosystems
Procurement and supply chains
Service delivery and programming
Data reporting and monitoring
The discussion was moderated by Allen Namagembe, Deputy Project Director, Uganda DMPA-SC Access Collaborative, PATH.
Dr. Kayode Afolabi, Director and Head, Reproductive Health Division, Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria
Dr. Daniella Munene, Member, National Executive Committee, Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya
Dr. Hortense Randrianaivo, President, Association of Pharmacists of Madagascar
Mr. Célestin Compaore, Regional Project Director, DMPA-SC, Jhpiego, Burkina Faso
Humanitarian crises and disease outbreaks exacerbate the barriers that women face when seeking reproductive health services. They also highlight a timeless truth: women must be able to manage their own sexual and reproductive health—especially in a crisis when health systems are at their weakest.
On November 17, 2021, the PATH-JSI DMPA-SC Access Collaborative hosted this webinar on making self-care interventions available, including DMPA-SC self-injection, in humanitarian settings. Through this virtual discussion, we addressed key challenges in humanitarian settings that need to be addressed in order to leverage the potential of self-injection as an option to ease access to family planning in the context of a full method mix.
Discussion highlights included:
Programmatic or regulatory actions that need to be implemented
Country-specific cultural barriers affecting demand generation in humanitarian settings
Supply systems and processes in humanitarian settings compared to national systems
Collaboration and data sharing between agencies
This discussion was moderated by George Barigye, Regional Technical Advisor, DMPA-SC Access Collaborative, PATH, Uganda. The keynote introduction was given by Dr. Adewole Adefalu, Country Coordinator, DMPA-SC Access Collaborative, JSI, Nigeria.
Lilian Ndinda, Maternal and Child Health Coordinator, International Rescue Committee, South Sudan
Dr. Arsenia Nhancale, Program Analyst, Family Planning and HIV, United Nations Population Fund, Mozambique
Dr. Ronald Nyakoojo, Assistant Public Health Officer, Reproductive Health/HIV, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Uganda
Roselline Achola, National Programme Analyst, Family Planning, United Nations Population Fund, Uganda
This discussion encouraged all stakeholders—program implementers, researchers, government officials, health providers, and members of civil society—to consider humanitarian sector perspectives when advocating for policies that advance self-care behaviors and commodities essential to improving health outcomes in crisis settings.