Call to Action:  The Sino-implant (II) Initiative was recently selected as a finalist for the Katerva Award in the Human Development Category. Click here to vote for the project for the People’s Choice Award. Deadline is January 29, 2013.

Markus Steiner is a senior epidemiologist at FHI 360 and project director for the Sino-implant (II) initiative. Heather Vahdat is an associate scientist at FHI 360, where she serves as project manager for the Sino-implant (II) initiative. Kate Rademacher is a senior technical officer at FHI 360 and serves as the strategic partnership manager for the Sino-implant (II) initiative.

All women benefit from access to longer-acting contraceptive methods. From a mother living in a rural village with limited access to health care services to a young woman living in an urban center who is focused on completing her education and starting a career.  The peace of mind, independence, and continuous contraceptive protection that comes with a long-acting method is priceless. 

Contraceptive implants are a vital commodity in the spectrum of contraceptive choice. They provide discrete, long-term pregnancy prevention without the need for a pelvic exam, which has been shown to be a barrier to uptake of intrauterine devices (IUDs) for many women. Contraceptive implants are a popular method in developing countries; however, until recently, the high cost of implants has been a barrier to access.

The Sino-implant (II) initiative has been at the forefront of helping to reduce the cost of implants in resource-constrained settings.  Manufactured by Shanghai Dahua Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Sino-implant (II) is a low-cost, highly effective contraceptive implant currently labeled for four years of use that is available for approximately US $8 per unit. Through the initiative, which is led by FHI 360 with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Sino-implant (II) has been registered in 22 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America since 2008.

Sino-implant (II) entered the international contraceptive market as a game-changing product. Through a network of dedicated distribution partners, Sino-implant (II) has been introduced through in-country programs and provided an opportunity to diversify the contraceptive commodity stock. The lower price of Sino-implant (II) has meant that cost savings could be used to support larger procurements of contraceptive implants, other health commodities, training, or other program needs.

So what is the “So What?” of the cost savings offered by Sino-implant (II)? 

  • More than 870,000 units of Sino-implant (II) have been distributed
  • US $10.4 million in cost savings have been generated when compared to buying similar, more expensive implants
  • According to the Marie Stopes International Impact Calculator, the procurement of 870,00 units of Sino-implant (II) can prevent: 
    • 1.2 million unintended pregnancies
    • 150,000 abortions
    • 3,500 maternal deaths

Recently, Sino-implant (II) (marketed in parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America under trade names including Zarin, Femplant, Trust, and Simplant) was selected as a finalist for the Katerva Award in the Human Development Category. Click here to vote for the project for the People’s Choice Award.   Voting began on January 14and runs through January 29, 2013. For more information on the Katerva award or Sino-implant (II) initiative, visit:

A Note from the IYWG: Among adolescents who have access to contraception, poor compliance, inconsistent use, and discontinuation are common and often result in unintended pregnancy. Longer-acting family planning methods—including contraceptive implants—provide more effective coverage than shorter-acting methods such as Depo-Provera and oral contraceptives (OCs). According to the World Health Organization, implants are safe and appropriate for adolescents. Implants are discreet, easy to use, and effective for 3-5 years without any need for resupply or regular action by the user. In addition, implants remove the challenge of user compliance and therefore have a very low failure rate. Researchers estimate that if 20 percent of the 17.6 million women using OCs and Depo in sub-Saharan Africa who wanted long-term protection switched to implants, more than 1.8 million unintended pregnancies could be averted over a five-year period.