Further improvements in health and development indicators require programs to address specific geographic and demographic groups. India is characterized by a vibrant and robust private health sector that could be tapped to improve the health outcomes of vulnerable populations.

  • 10%
    of deaths among children under 5 are due to diarrhea
  • 48%
    of women use modern contraceptives
  • 2.5
    is the total fertility rate
  • 20.5%
    of married women have an unmet need for contraception

As the government of India aims to accelerate progress toward FP2020 goals and reorients its strategy to accommodate the Sustainable Development Goals, it is committed to increasing contraceptive options. The government’s strategy includes supporting the introduction of additional methods, including progestin-only pills and depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), revising the national social marketing program to support an expanded product basket that reaches underserved populations, and partnering with the private sector in scaling-up product and service delivery coverage.

SHOPS Plus aims to demonstrate scalable private sector approaches in support of the government's efforts. The project focuses on achieving a sustainable increase in the use of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health (RMNCH+A) services by underserved populations by scaling effective and innovative market-based approaches. The project’s work will complement national and state government efforts to increase access to and create demand for a range of RMNCH+A products, engage with the private sector to reach underserved rural populations, and identify and incubate innovative models of delivering priority health products and services to underserved groups. The project will leverage global experience and build on the successes and lessons learned from predecessor projects to identify, surface, and scale successful market-based approaches that improve health outcomes. 

Program Components

Demonstrate Feasibility of Safe Provision of Depo-SubQ through New Cadre of Providers

SHOPS Plus will develop a plan for the introduction of the family planning method, Depo-SubQ, in India by documenting the perspectives of opinion leaders and stakeholders and building consensus on potential approaches. Based on the plan developed through this consultative process, the project team will implement and evaluate a pilot to demonstrate the feasibility of engaging a new cadre of health providers in urban Uttar Pradesh. 

Improve Enabling Environment for the Private Health Sector

SHOPS Plus will systematically further stakeholders’ knowledge of the potential of the private sector in India. The project will highlight and disseminate learnings and successes from engaging with the private sector. By including the government and other key stakeholders in the process from the outset, SHOPS Plus aims to obtain greater engagement from the public sector in implementing initiatives. The project will organize workshops, dissemination events, and stakeholder consultations.

Increase Contraceptive Use among Unmarried Youth

SHOPS Plus will provide youth with information on all family planning options that they can access anonymously and autonomously. Contraceptive accessibility barriers remain a challenge in India despite availability. SHOPS Plus will explore the feasibility of two innovative approaches to reaching youth: mobile phones and youth-oriented programming. India has 220 million smart phone users, a majority of them in urban areas, and over 50% of users are under 25.

Increase Use of RMNCH+A Products among Underserved Rural Populations

SHOPS Plus uses a direct sales agent model to promote and sell health products in communities that are not served through traditional distribution channels in India. The project team will create a network of female direct sales agents based in villages to sell over-the-counter health products. This approach reduces physical and gender gaps in women’s access to health products.

Support Social Enterprises to Increase the Use of RMNCH+A Products and Services

SHOPS Plus will identify solutions to sustainably provide priority health services in rural areas by launching the Health Enterprise Fund in India. The fund will target social enterprises that offer innovative solutions to expand access to priority health services for the poor, and that have faced challenges in testing their models or scaling them up due to a lack of capital and/or technical capacity. The project will explore ways to advertise the fund to attract applications from enterprises owned by women.



Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Plus is a five-year cooperative agreement (AID-OAA-A-15-00067) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This website is made possible by the generous support of the American people through USAID. The information provided on this website is not official U.S. government information and does not represent the views or positions of USAID or the U.S. government.