"Innovative partnerships increase access to family planning, helping more women plan their lives and shape their futures."
- Chris Elias, President Global Development Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
For women who are not planning pregnancies in the next few years following the birth of a child, a reversible long-acting method of contraception can mean a big relief. Such contraceptives have a duration of action of up to five years. There is no need for regular visits to a doctor for a check-up and – unlike oral contraceptives – there is no risk of unintended pregnancies caused by intake errors.
This could especially benefit women living in areas of with unreliable healthcare services, and demand in these areas has been rising continuously. Yet classic family-planning programs catering for needy families have offered mainly oral contraceptives up to now – largely for cost reasons. Although a long-acting reversible contraceptive method is less expensive over its full duration of action, the initial one-off costs are higher than the price of a one-month pack of the Pill.
In order to close this gap, governments, NGOs and companies – including Bayer – committed themselves at the London Family Planning Summit in 2012 to the aim of giving 120 million women in developing countries a greater choice of contraceptive methods and, above all, access to reliable long-acting reversible contraception.
27 million contraceptive implants in six years
This resolution was the foundation stone for the Jadelle Access Program, which was launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Bayer in 2013. Bayer's Jadelle® contraceptive implant has been prequalified by the World Health Organization (WHO) since 2009 (prequalification is a seal of approval that certifies the product’s safety and efficacy).
In the course of this program, Bayer is supplying 27 million contraceptive implants within six years. We have expanded our production capacity at the Turku manufacturing side to be able to deliver the contractually agreed amount. In turn, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is covering the risk of default.
Major aid organizations like the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the US Agency of International Development (USAID), as well as local health authorities, buy the contraceptive implants at a more than 50 percent reduced price and offer them free of charge in developing countries. Thorough on-the-spot training courses ensure that women and girls who want to use the contraceptive are given competent counseling by medical professionals on all the available methods, and that the implant is properly inserted if they decide in favor of it.
The partners guarantee a reliable supply for six years, so that the program offers women in the various countries more planning certainty than schemes which – as is often the case – depend on an annual tendering procedure.
Moving toward the Millennium Development Goals
The Jadelle Access Program is active in more than 50 countries of the world, including those which, in the United Nations' view, still have a particularly long way to go before reaching the Millennium Development Goals on improving maternal and infant health
Overall, the program could help prevent almost 30 million unintended pregnancies, thus reducing infant mortality by some 280,000 cases and maternal mortality by 30,000 cases.