My name is Kirsten Miner and I’m a first year MPH student in the Maternal and Child Health department. I’m passionate about reproductive health and family planning, particularly for those women who live at the “last mile” – women who live and work in rural areas for whom access to health care is a challenge. I’m interested in learning about novel ways the global health community is tackling this challenge, and I couldn’t have found a better internship to explore this interest than my current practicum: the Sayana® Press project under PATH Uganda!
Sayana® Press is an all-in-one injectable contraceptive offering three months of pregnancy prevention. It is similar to Depo-Provera, another injectable contraceptive that is widely popular across Sub-Saharan Africa. However, Sayana® Press is unique in that it doesn’t require a trained health professional to administer it. Lay health workers such as Community Health Workers, and even women themselves, are qualified to inject with appropriate training. This makes Sayana® Press an excellent solution for women living in rural areas: they can access training through their health center and then take home enough units to use for up to a full calendar year, preventing frequent returns to the clinic to access contraceptive services.
For my practicum, I joined PATH’s Advancing Contraceptive Options project which is the major driver for Sayana® Press introduction in Uganda and has been training Ugandan women in four districts to self-inject with the drug. This week (my first week on the project!) the team launched Phase I of their evaluation of self-injection in order to determine best practices and cost-efficacy. I was able to join the evaluation team on a site visit to Oyam District in northern Uganda to support the launch and learn the ins and outs of the evaluation process.
I’m excited to continue participating in the evaluation and learning about the project!