MSD for Mothers has been part of a widely celebrated family planning initiative in Senegal, adapting practices used in the commercial sector to improve access to contraceptives.
MSD for Mothers has been part of a widely celebrated family planning initiative in Senegal. The Informed Push Model (IPM) adapts practices used in the commercial sector, including deploying third-party logistics providers (3PLs) to improve the logistics, forecasting and transportation of contraceptives.
Imagine a world where no woman dies giving birth. It’s a future that pharmaceutical company MSD is working through its 10-year, US$500 million initiative MSD for Mothers.1 By applying the company’s technical and business expertise to the task of improving women’s health, the programme is ramping up access to quality childbirth facilities and modern contraceptives. Five years in, it has supported over 50 projects in more than 30 countries, helping millions of women gain better care, and greater control over their lives.2
A project in Senegal – where contraceptive use is among the lowest in the world3 – flags the transformative potential of one of MSD for Mothers’ focus areas: creating a more reliable supply chain for contraceptives.4 In 2011, nearly one in three married Senegalese women wasn’t using contraception that year, despite wanting to delay her next birth or have no more children.5 Poor availability of birth control has been a major problem. A 2011 study found that more than 80% of government-run health facilities sampled had a contraceptive stockout.6 Frustratingly, contraceptives were in the country – but the supplies often sat in central warehouses, failing to make it “the last mile” to clinics where women could access them.7
In response, MSD for Mothers teamed up with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, IntraHealth International and the Senegal health ministry to reboot the country’s contraceptives distribution system. The resulting Informed Push Model (IPM-3PL) utilizes third-party logistics providers (3PLs) – local businesses – to deliver contraceptives directly to health facilities and use tablets to collect real-time data on consumption patterns. It also allows clinic staff to pay for products after women purchase them, encouraging health facilities to stock a broad range of products. This is important because research suggests women are more likely to use birth control when they have a range of choices.8 Rewards for the private suppliers are linked to their performance, incentivising them to keep clinics well-stocked, and freeing up healthcare workers to focus on essential medical tasks.9
By August 2015, the model was implemented in all 14 regions of Senegal, reaching 1,400 health facilities, and dramatically reducing contraceptive stock outs to less than 2% of all public facilities nationwide. As a result, an estimated 3.2 million women now have reliable access to modern contraceptives.10
MSD for Mothers has helped assess the model’s cost-effectiveness and sustainability; consequently, it is supporting the transition of the model to the government of Senegal so that quality products can continue to be accessible to all women. Inspired by the model’s success, the government is now expanding it beyond contraceptives to cover approximately 100 essential medicines, including those for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases, so that even more people in Senegal will have reliable access to life-saving products.11
1 MSD for Mothers. Home page. Available at: http://msdformothers.com/.
3 Daff BM, Seck C, Belkhayat H, Sutton P. Informed push distribution of contraceptives in Senegal reduces stockouts and improves quality of family planning services. Glob Health Sci Pract. 2014;2(2):245-252. http://dx.doi.org/10.9745/GHSP-D-13-00171.
4 MSD for Mothers. Our Work. Available at: http://msdformothers.com/our-work/index.html.
5 Agence Nationale de la Statistique et de la Démographie (ANSD) [Sénégal]; ICF International. Enquête démographique et de santé à indicateurs multiples au Sénégal (EDS-MICS) 2010–2011. Calverton (MD): ICF International; 2012. Available from: http://dhsprogram.com/pubs/pdf/FR258/FR258.pdf.
6 Daff BM, Seck C, Belkhayat H, Sutton P. Informed push distribution of contraceptives in Senegal reduces stockouts and improves quality of family planning services.
8 John Ross, John Stover, “Use of modern contraception increases when more methods become available: analysis of evidence from 1982–2009,” Global Health: Science and Practice 2013; 1: 203-212. Available from http://www.ghspjournal.org/content/1/2/203.short#cited-by.
9 Daff BM, Seck C, Belkhayat H, Sutton P. Informed push distribution of contraceptives in Senegal reduces stockouts and improves quality of family planning services.
10 MSD for Mothers. Senegal. Available at: http://msdformothers.com/our-work/senegal.html
11 MSD for Mothers. Partners Celebrate Transition of Informed Push Model to the Government of Senegal. Available at: http://msdformothers.com/newsroom/informed-push-model.html.