Understanding and addressing contraceptive stockouts to increase family planning access and uptake in Senegal

BMC Health Serv Res. 2017 May 26;17(1):373. doi: 10.1186/s12913-017-2316-y.


Background: Senegal's government has pledged to reduce contraceptive stockouts, which have been frequent in public sector health facilities. An innovative distribution system called the Informed Push Model (IPM) addresses supply chain obstacles through direct regional-to-facility delivery of contraceptives and use of private sector logistics operators. Following promising pilot results, Senegal's Ministry of Health and Social Action committed to a three-year (2013-2016) expansion of IPM to all public health facilities nationwide.

Methods: From August 2014-July 2016, IPM's six logisticians made 29,319 visits to restock public sector health facilities. During these regular facility visits, the logisticians conducted a physical inventory to flag contraceptive stockouts (no usable stock of any single method available) and asked facility staff to identify the primary reason for documented stockouts. Our descriptive study examines stockout trends over the course of IPM scale-up. We also describe trends in contraceptive consumption over the three-year period using facility-level data collected by the logisticians.

Results: Contraceptive consumption rose by 91% over 35 months in the first three IPM regions, and by 118% in the next five regions (over 26 months). After scale-up to 1,394 health facilities, nationwide consumption rose by 48% over one year. On average, logisticians documented stockouts at fewer than 2% of facility visits. In comparison, two pre-IPM studies in 2011 identified stockouts of selected modern contraceptives at 60-70% of facilities visited, with 84% of clients reporting stockouts in the past year. Six factors (including consumption spikes, IPM-preventable causes, and community outreach) explained most remaining stockouts.

Conclusions: IPM has been highly successful in ensuring full availability of contraceptives across regions and health facilities. The model also has facilitated the flow of essential data on consumption and stockouts from facilities up to district, regional, and central-level managers. These achievements highlight the relevance of professionalizing supply chain management while continuing to mitigate stockouts through enhanced stakeholder communication and improved training, coaching, and supervision of third-party logistics operators. Supply reliability is critical in shaping demand for and regular use of contraception. The government is transitioning the IPM to full management by the National Supply Pharmacy.

Keywords: Contraceptives; Professionalization; Stockouts; Supply chain management.

MeSH terms

  • Contraception / statistics & numerical data
  • Contraception Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Contraceptive Agents / supply & distribution*
  • Family Planning Services / organization & administration
  • Family Planning Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Private Sector
  • Senegal


  • Contraceptive Agents