The levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device (IUD), also known as the hormonal IUD or hormonal intrauterine system (IUS), has been added for the first time to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Product Catalog and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Product Catalog.
The hormonal IUD is a highly effective, long-acting, reversible contraceptive with important non-contraceptive health benefits. The method was first introduced in Europe in 1990 and in the United States in 2000, and it has been popular in these settings. Despite its advantages, the method has not been widely available in LMICs to date.
The products being introduced are Mirena™, which is supplied by Bayer AG, and Avibela™, which is supplied by Impact RH360. Both products are quality-assured by stringent regulatory authorities. With a goal of facilitating procurement and distribution in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), USAID’s family planning priority countries are eligible to procure the product through the Global Health Supply Chain Program-Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM) Project. Participating countries in the UNFPA Supplies Partnership or other countries using domestic funds are eligible for procurement through UNFPA.
“For too long, the hormonal IUD has been unavailable to the majority of women in low-income countries,” said Ellen Starbird, Director of the Office of Population and Reproductive Health at USAID. “Now, with the addition of quality-assured products in the USAID and UNFPA product catalogs, the situation is changing. This is an exciting milestone, and we look forward to collaborating with governments and local partners to expand access to this method as part of our commitment to voluntarism, informed choice, and access to a broad range of contraceptive methods.”
Globally, introduction of the hormonal IUD is being supported by the Hormonal IUD Access Group, a consortium of governments, donors, manufacturers, procurement agencies, researchers, and service delivery groups. The Hormonal IUD Access Group – which is supported by USAID, UNFPA, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) – takes a comprehensive approach to facilitate method introduction and scale-up. This includes 1) ensuring the availability of affordable, quality-assured products to facilitate sustainable markets; and 2) supporting countries that are ready and willing to introduce and scale up the method through a phased approach.
For additional procurement information including information about pricing, please contact USAID ([email protected], [email protected]), GHSC-PSM ([email protected]), or UNFPA ([email protected], [email protected]). For countries interested in expanding access to the hormonal IUD via UNFPA, the first step is for the government and partners to reach out to UNFPA country offices.
This post originally appeared on Family Planning 2020. View the original post and read more about this important step to expand global access here.