Social marketing key to contraceptive use

June 30, 2012 at 1:11 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, June 30 (UPI) -- A U.S. non-profit group says 83 social marketing programs sold 2.3 billion condoms, 184 million oral contraceptives and 2 million IUDs globally in 2011.

Phil Harvey, president of DKT International in Washington, said the increasing success of contraceptive social marketing is, in large part, attributable to its effectiveness in areas where other types of private and governmental organizations have faced significant challenges.

"The social marketing of reproductive health products and services has several unique advantages," Harvey said in a statement. "It is fast. Because social marketing relies on existing commercial and health service delivery networks, it can be scaled up quickly, providing contraceptives to tens of thousands of outlets in just a year or two. It also is non-patronizing. Social marketing contraceptives are not perceived as a 'program' by consumers. Rather, they are seen as normal commercial goods that offer consumers a benefit at an affordable price."

Because the contraceptives are purchased, as opposed to given out for free, they are likely to be used, so the social marketing of contraceptives and family planning services is highly cost-effective, Harvey said.

DKT International is currently the largest private provider of contraceptives and family planning services in the developing world. DKT is also one of the few non-profits to employ a revenue generating model that places the organization on a path to self-sufficiency, with its Indonesia program providing much of the funding to begin the Ghana effort in 2011 and the upcoming establishment of a Pakistan program supported by revenue from DKT-Philippines, Harvey said.

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