Half of the women of reproductive age in India use modern contraception. Of those who do, one in four obtains her method from the private sector.
Sabra lives in Samastipur, one of the poorest districts in Bihar, India. She is 28 years old, a wife, and the mother of two girls and a son. Private sector providers are well positioned to help women like Sabra who may be interested in spacing the timing of the births of children or limiting the number of births.
As part of an effort to accelerate progress toward FP 2020 goals and the Sustainable Development Goals, the government of India supports a range of family planning methods. The private sector is a key partner in expanding access to underserved populations.
In rural areas, women do not have access to feminine and child health products and consider health and hygiene-related problems as unavoidable. Only 12 percent of India’s 355 million menstruating women use sanitary napkins. Indian women who cannot afford sanitary napkins traditionally use cloth strips, which contribute to urinary and reproductive tract infections. Reproductive tract infections are 70 percent more common among this group of women. Only 12 percent of rural women who use oral contraceptive pills are able to obtain their method from public facilities.
To help increase access for women like Sabra, SHOPS Plus will support sales agents in selling family planning and maternal and child health products. The direct sales agents are mostly women who sell a selection of goods in villages throughout the region. Direct sales agent models recruit and train entrepreneurs to promote and sell health products in communities that are not served through traditional distribution channels.