Cameroon - family planning benefits from contraceptive price cut
Family planning services in Cameroon will benefit from an international partnership agreement that has cut the price of the implantable contraceptive Jadelle.
Bayer, the German pharmaceutical company that makes Jadelle, has cut the price of the contraceptive by half in 50 countries, including Cameroon. The price cut, from $18 to $8.5 a piece, is expected to help provide about 27 million women around the world with access to the implants.
The Jadelle Access Program was announced in Leverkusen, Germany in February but went into effect on 1 January 2013. The CEO of Bayer Dr, Jörg Reinhardt, said “we are delighted to make our life-enhancing products accessible to as many people as possible, regardless of their income or where they live, thus making a substantial contribution to improving the health of women and children in developing countries.”
Unmet family planning needs in Cameroon stand at 22 percent and only 12 percent of couples in Cameroon use a modern contraception method.
Reacting to the announcement, Professor Robert Leke, an obstetrician and gynaecologist at Hopital General in Yaoundé, said Jadelle “is a contraceptive method very well accepted by the Cameroonian woman… the announced price cut of about 50% is very great news because high cost and availability have been the major causes of non-use of Jadelle.”
The implant is injected by a trained nurse under the woman’s arm and stops pregnancy by slowly releasing progestogen, a birth-control hormone. Once inserted, Jadelle can work for up to five years and can be removed if a woman wants to have children.
The United States, Sweden, Norway, Britain, the United Nations Population Fund, the Children Investment Fund Initiative, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Clinton Health Access Initiative are all contributing to this deal.
When the Jadelle Access Program is fully implemented, it is thought that more than 28 million unintended pregnancies will be averted between 2013 and 2018, and approximately 280,000 infant and 30,000 maternal deaths will be prevented globally.
However, increased access to Jadelle is only part of the solution to preventing unintended pregnancies in Cameroon. Professor Leke said the lack of education and knowledge of family planning, lack of sufficient sensitisation of male partners on the risk of unwanted pregnancies, including teenage marriages, are hurdles to reducing the occurrence of unintended pregnancies in the country.
In addition to increasing access to modern contraceptives, “women need to be educated and sensitised on the risk of unintended pregnancies and be encouraged to use family planning methods to avoid unwanted pregnancies and plan for responsible parenthood,” said Professor Leke.
The Jadelle Access Program is a by-product of momentum generated at a July 2012 summit on family planning in London, where global leaders committed to providing an additional 120 million women in developing countries with access to contraceptive by 2020.