The SHOPS Plus project conducted a market shaping assessment of pregnancy tests in Lilongwe, Malawi. The assessment shows that pregnancy tests are widely available in the private sector, which offers a range of different brands at varying price points. However, the tests are rarely available at public clinics, leading providers to send clients to the private sector or to ask them to return during their menses. In both scenarios, women may exit the health care system without ever obtaining a family planning method.
The primary opportunity to increase the availability of pregnancy tests in family planning services is advocacy and support for public procurement, through funding and possibly a country-specific impact model. There may also be room to improve supply chain systems. Partnering with existing social marketing or community programs could make private sector pregnancy tests more affordable for public sector clients who are referred to a retail outlet when a public clinic is stocked out.