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Hormonal IUD added to product catalogs, access expands globally

July 07, 2021

smiling woman holding IUD

FHI 360 joins global partners in celebrating the addition of the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device (IUD), also known as the hormonal IUD, to the product catalogs of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The hormonal IUD is a highly effective, long-acting, reversible contraceptive with important noncontraceptive health benefits. Despite its advantages, the method has not been widely available in low- and middle-income countries. The addition of the method to these two international supply chain programs will allow for greater availability worldwide.

FHI 360 currently serves as the Co-Secretariat for the Hormonal IUD Access Group, a consortium of governments, donors, manufacturers, procurement agencies, researchers and service delivery groups working to expand access to the method in the context of voluntarism, informed choice and a broad contraceptive method mix. The Hormonal IUD Access Group – supported by USAID, UNFPA, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office – takes a comprehensive approach to facilitating method introduction and scale-up.

“We are delighted to be part of the global consortium that is helping to expand access to the hormonal IUD,” said Dr. Laneta Dorflinger, Distinguished Scientist and Director of Product Development and Introduction at FHI 360. “For too long, this excellent method has been out of reach for women in low-resource settings. This is a critical milestone in expanding contraceptive choice and access worldwide.”

The products being introduced into the USAID and UNFPA catalogs are MirenaTM, supplied by Bayer AG, and AvibelaTM, supplied by Impact RH360. Both products have been approved by stringent regulatory authorities.

FHI 360 has provided technical leadership in this area for many years. Our work through the USAID-funded Envision FP project supports development and implementation of a learning agenda for the hormonal IUD. FHI 360 currently leads the Learning about Expanded Access and Potential (LEAP) Initiative (with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), which generates evidence to better understand the potential demand for the method, experiences among users and providers, and continuation and satisfaction rates compared with other long-acting contraceptive methods. Results from a recent study led by FHI 360 in Nigeria and Zambia were recently published in The Lancet Global Health. Key findings showed high continuation and satisfaction after 12 months of use across long-acting reversible contraceptives, including the hormonal IUD.

“The findings in this study demonstrate that the hormonal IUD can be an important addition to the contraceptive method mix in settings where it is not currently available,” said Kate Rademacher, Senior Technical Advisor at FHI 360 and project director of the LEAP Initiative. “We are currently working with governments and partners in several countries to apply insights from recent research to inform national introduction and scale-up plans.”

For additional information, read this announcement from FP2030, a global partnership focused on expanding voluntary modern contraceptive use by everyone who wants it.

Photo credit: Kate Rademacher/FHI 360