Introducing the subcutaneous depot medroxyprogesterone acetate injectable contraceptive via social marketing: lessons learned from Nigeria's private sector

Contraception. 2018 Nov;98(5):438-448. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2018.07.005. Epub 2018 Jul 30.


Objectives: The subcutaneous depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA-SC) injectable contraceptive was introduced in South West Nigeria in 2015 through private sector channels. The introduction included community-based distribution and was supported by a social marketing approach. From program monitoring and evaluation, aimed at understanding performance, market reach and other process measures, we identify lessons learned to inform future scale-up efforts.

Methods: We synthesized the findings from a core set of key performance indicators collected through different methods: (1) implementer performance indicators, (2) phone survey of DMPA-SC users (n=541) with a follow-up after 3 months (n=342) and (3) in-depth interviews with 57 providers and 42 users of DMPA-SC.

Results: Distribution of DMPA-SC to private providers was concentrated in states with large urban populations. A shift toward focusing on high-volume family planning facilities coincided with a rapid increase in distribution in late 2016. Users reached in the phone survey were generally older and married with children; few were under age 25. Users and providers reported favorable opinions of DMPA-SC. Many users reported choosing DMPA-SC due to recommendations from providers and friends, and the hope of experiencing reduced side effects compared to other methods. While users reported positive experiences interacting with community-based distributors, the delivery model encountered a number of challenges - high turnover, low motivation, lack of an appropriate compensation package and logistical costs - and was ultimately disbanded.

Conclusions: In the DMPA-SC introductory program in Nigeria, distribution was amplified when focused on high-volume contraceptive providers. Although community-based distribution can be one effective service delivery model for reaching underserved populations, more consideration for balancing cost recovery and public health goals through private sector approaches are needed in the context of South West Nigeria. Additional communications and outreach efforts are needed to reach younger, unmarried users with contraceptive services.

Keywords: Community-based distribution; Injectable contraceptive; Nigeria; Private sector; Social marketing; Subcutaneous depot medroxyprogesterone acetate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Contraception Behavior
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / administration & dosage*
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate / administration & dosage*
  • Nigeria
  • Private Sector
  • Social Marketing*
  • Young Adult


  • Contraceptive Agents, Female
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate