By Esther Nakkazi
Niger, a country with one of the highest fertility rates in the world has added more contraceptive choices for women of reproductive age.
The Caya™ diaphragm and Caya™ Gel were launched in Niger in mid-July and mark the first new non-hormonal contraceptive options to become available on the African continent.
They both are non-hormonal, discreet and reusable barrier methods. They were launched in Niger with support from the Expanding Effective Contraceptive Options (EECO) project funded by USAID.
“Women’s contraceptive needs change throughout their lives and they need methods that align with their unique circumstances,” said Shannon Bledsoe, WCG Executive Director. “The introduction of this on-demand, non-hormonal method gives women in Niger one more contraceptive choice.”
The EECO project, led by WCG and implemented in partnership with PSI, was designed to support the introduction of new and improved contraceptive methods that address method-related reasons for non-use of family planning to better meet the reproductive health needs of women and girls worldwide.
The global health nonprofit PATH developed the Caya diaphragm through a human-centered design process to expand women’s access to affordable, nonhormonal contraceptive options in countries across the world.
According to a press statement from WCG, PSI will market and distribute the Caya™ Diaphragm and Caya™ Gel in Niger’s capital of Niamey, training community health workers and healthcare providers to offer the method to women alongside other options within the context of informed choice.
It says unlike previous iterations of the diaphragm, the Caya™ Diaphragm is “one size fits most,” eliminating the need for a provider fitting in countries like Niger with shortages of trained healthcare providers.
“Our market research shows that women and men desire more contraceptive options that are within their control and have no side effects,” said Moumouni Boubacar, EECO Project Manager at PSI Niger.
“The Caya™ Diaphragm puts power in the hands of the couple.”
Officials from the project say the diaphragm’s expansion to Niger and planned marketing of the product will lead to greater access within the country, and lay the groundwork for expansion to additional countries. The Caya products also recently received regulatory approval in Nigeria.
Since the diaphragm was made available, they have also not reported any cultural or religious issues and women have been particularly drawn to the idea of a method with no side effects that can be used on-demand rather than continuously.
Niger has one of the world’s highest fertility rates, with women having more than seven children in their lifetime on average, in part due to extremely low use of contraception.