DKT International Branches out through Social Marketing in Iran, Tanzania and Myanmar Expanding Access to Contraception
Washington DC: AUGUST 13, 2014: DKT International announces the opening of offices in Iran, Tanzania and Myanmar to offer family planning, reproductive health products and services and HIV/AIDS prevention. The additional offices now bring DKT services to 22 countries worldwide.
With a population of 44 million, Tanzania is the 6th most populous country in Africa with some 1.5 million women with unmet family planning needs. Family planning challenges in Tanzania include supply chain stock outs and irregularities, social inhibitions related to religion and culture, and a lack of modern birth control methods and sex education for young girls and adolescents. Tanzania grapples with a serious HIV epidemic– nearly 1.6 million people are infected and women are particularly affected comprising over 60% of cases.
“Nearly 45% of Tanzania’s population is under the age of 15 and will soon face choices about sex and family planning,” says Country Director DKT Tanzania, Raphael da Silva. “We’re proud to provide a wide range of high-quality contraceptives at affordable prices, introduce innovative technologies, fill gaps in the currently sporadic supply chain and teach method choices through innovative outreach, education, and marketing efforts to shift behavior and expand the market.”
Social marketing of reproductive health products and services often relies on existing commercial and health service delivery networks that can be scaled up quickly, providing contraceptives to tens of thousands of outlets in just a year or two so contraceptives are not perceived as a “program” by consumers. Rather, they are seen as normal commercial goods that
offer a benefit at an affordable price. When social marketing products and services are purchased, they are more likely to be used than those given away for free.
In addition to branded, product-specific campaigns, DKT will also implement behavior change communication campaigns in these areas to provide people with the information they need to make smart, informed decisions that can help them stay healthy and even save their lives.
“Having reached a low fertility rate, the government of Iran has slashed funding for birth-control programs. Our goal is to provide access to all products, services and information, good quality contraception choices and a diverse range of condoms that can compete on price and quality with already available products as a means of family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention measures,”
says, Country Director DKT Iran, Mehran Fatemi.
In Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), a country now emerging from decades of isolation following recent reforms, DKT aims to help fill unmet need for family planning products and services.
“Attitudes toward sexuality here are more conservative than in neighboring countries, these taboos mean that Myanmar’s young people enter adult years armed with inadequate knowledge about sex and sexual health so, education is key,” says Country Director DKT Myanmar, Hyam Bolande. “With some two-thirds of Myanmar’s estimated 60 million people still living in rural
villages, men and women simply aren’t aware of the many choices they have, and we plan to provide access to the full range of family planning options,” Myanmar’s maternal mortality rate is also one of the worst in the region, according to a recent UNFPA report, with 87 percent of maternal deaths occurring in rural areas.
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The nonprofit organization DKT International is one of the largest private providers of family planning and reproductive health products and services in the developing world, serving 21 million couples in 2013, and preventing 8.3 million unwanted pregnancies, 12,364 maternal deaths, and 1.8 million abortions.