Expanding Effective Contraceptive Options in Malawi to Include the Women’s Condom: Understanding the Provider

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Executive Summary

The female condom (FC) is the only woman-initiated contraceptive that offers triple protection against unintended pregnancy, HIV, and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). However, global use of female condoms remains low, due in part to inconsistent supply and promotion. Under the USAID-funded Expanding Effective Contraceptive Options (EECO) project, WCG Cares (WCG) launched the Woman’s Condom in Malawi under the brand name Whisper. EECO partner Population Services International (PSI) led a marketing campaign for potential users while WCG led a medical detailing program for providers. Medical detailers visited providers to educate them on the product and address stigma and other barriers at the retail and clinic levels. From 2015 – 2018, the EECO project distributed a total of 23,400 units of Whisper in health clinics, pharmacies, kiosks, and other outlets in Malawi. This case study highlights the EECO strategy and lessons learned from the Whisper medical detailing program.

Key recommendations from the EECO medical detailing experience:

  • Make use of inexpensive data tools to capture program developments in real-time.
  • Link supply and demand activities so that consumers have easy access to points-of-sale from well-trained providers.
  • Budget for generous amounts of sample stock that can be given to providers and consumers.
  • Highlight new features or design innovations to garner support among providers.
  • Conduct brief in-country acceptability studies to provide local evidence for support of the product.