What have we learned? Implementation of a shared learning agenda and access strategy for the hormonal intrauterine device

Document Type

Article (peer-reviewed)

Publication Date



In 2015, a global learning agenda for the hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) was developed with priority research questions regarding use of the method in low- and middle-income countries. In addition, members of the Hormonal IUD Access Group aligned on a strategy to expand access in the context of volunteerism and contraceptive method choice. This article synthesizes evidence generated since then and describes steps taken to address demand- and supply-side barriers to access. Findings demonstrated high continuation rates and satisfaction among hormonal IUD users that are comparable to other long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs). Across studies, a sizable number of users reported they would have chosen a short-acting method or no method at all if the hormonal IUD were not an option, which suggests that women did not see the hormonal IUD as interchangeable with other LARC options and thus it may fill an important niche in the market. With several countries now poised to scale up the method, resource mobilization will be key. On the demand side, investments in implementation research will be critical to understanding how best to launch and scale the method, while ensuring the sustainability of multiple quality-assured suppliers with affordable public-sector pricing will be necessary on the supply side.