Population Council partners with USAID to introduce new line of contraceptive rings

Project supports introduction of new methods in low-resource settings

The Population Council was awarded a cooperative agreement from the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Office of Population and Reproductive Health, "Delivering a Family of Contraceptive Vaginal Rings." Included in this agreement is support for two innovative, Population Council-developed contraceptive vaginal rings: a one-year contraceptive vaginal ring that can be used by women to plan their pregnancies and a three-month vaginal ring that can be used by breastfeeding women.

The project will facilitate final development, regulatory review, and introduction of the one-year contraceptive vaginal ring containing Nestorone- and ethinyl estradiol in USAID-priority countries. It will expand availability and increase affordability of the three-month Progesterone Vaginal Ring (PVR) in developing markets for postpartum breastfeeding women.

The project will also build collaboration with commercial outlets, social marketing providers, and not-for-profit providers to ensure broad availability of and access to the methods. The Council will lead the initiative and will work with a consortium that includes WomanCare Global, Andr-maco, and QPharma. Dr. John W. Townsend will be the principal investigator (PI), and Dr. Ruth Merkatz and Dr. Saumya RamaRao will be the co-PIs from the Population Council.

"The Council is proud to partner with USAID and distinguished colleagues on introducing a new line of contraceptive vaginal rings where access to safe, effective, and affordable new methods are limited or nonexistent," said John W. Townsend, Ph.D., Vice President of the Population Council's Reproductive Health Program. "The introduction of these methods will provide new options to address unmet needs for women around the world."

Long-acting vaginal rings represent an important advancement in contraceptive development. These methods are especially beneficial for women in low-resource settings as they are designed to be under the woman's control and do not require insertion by a healthcare provider or regular visits to a pharmacy.

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