Gambling on Innovation


“Before ‘Informed Push’ came, we had stock-outs of all family planning products. Now, I say that ‘the push’ is a revolution.”

Those are the words of the head nurse at a small local health post in Senegal. The Informed Push system she’s referring to is, indeed, a revolution. But it’s one that took years of planning. In 2010, Senegal was poised to reinvigorate its family planning program. The government was strongly committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, and at the Ministry of Health we were developing strategic plans to accelerate progress on reproductive health.

We were about to launch the Senegal Urban Health Initiative, an ambitious project designed to increase access to family planning services in Dakar.

But there was a problem: In clinic after clinic, supplies of contraceptive products — pills, injectables, implants, IUDs — were chronically running short. Women who came seeking contraceptives were being turned away empty handed.