Sources for Modern Contraception: Understanding the Roles of the Public and Private Sectors

Title: Sources for Modern Contraception: Understanding the Roles of the Public and Private Sectors
Principal Investigators: Sarah E.K. Bradley and Tess Shiras
Timeline: 2018-2020

Graphic showing that 1 in every 3 modern contraceptive users obtains her method from a private source

Understanding where women obtain family planning and how sources vary by women’s sociodemographic characteristics is essential to enhance contraceptive access and choice and ensure an equitable and sustainable future. This study illuminates the important contributions of both the public and private sectors. It provides programmers, policy makers, implementers, and donors with the data needed to design country programs using a total market approach.

Results from this analysis will be disseminated through a global technical brief summarizing data across 36 low- and middle-income countries, 22 country briefs for USAID Population and Reproductive Health priority countries with a recent (post-2012) Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), and through SHOPS Plus’s interactive data visualization website: Private Sector Counts.

Research questions:

  • What roles have the public and private sectors played in recent modern contraceptive prevalence rate (mCPR) increases? 
  • Currently, where do women obtain their contraceptives, and how do their sources vary by region, country, and contraceptive method?
  • Within the private sector, what are the relative roles of private clinics, pharmacies, general shops, and non-governmental organizations in providing contraception?
  • How do source patterns vary by women’s age, marital status, and socioeconomic status?


SHOPS Plus conducted a secondary analysis of DHS data from 36 low- and middle-income countries to examine where modern contraceptive users obtain their method and how source patterns vary by key demographic characteristics. The analysis includes every USAID Population and Reproductive Health priority country, Ouagadougou partnership country, or FP2020 country that conducted a DHS in 2012 or later. Please see this “About the Data” page for more detail.

Relevant Resources:

  • Home page with all written resources from this analysis
  • Private Sector Counts – This interactive data visualization tool uses data from the most recent DHS data in 37 low- and middle-income countries to illuminate the important contribution of the public and private sectors to modern contraception.
  • Recording of webinar introducing and applying Private Sector Counts and Family Planning Market Analyzer in English and French (stay tuned)

See other SHOPS plus studies. 



Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Plus is a five-year cooperative agreement (AID-OAA-A-15-00067) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This website is made possible by the generous support of the American people through USAID. The information provided on this website is not official U.S. government information and does not represent the views or positions of USAID or the U.S. government.

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