A year in review: 2018

Happy New Year from the IMPT Secretariat!

Recharged from the holiday season, we are proud to share a few major highlights from our 2018 work as IMPT learning network manager – fostering connections between multidisciplinary partners; collecting, synthesizing, and disseminating MPT-relevant information; and accelerating action to advance progress in the field.

We spread the word about MPTs through a range of innovative outlets. At four international conferences, the Secretariat presented on MPTs: the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC) Annual Membership Meeting in Brussels, Belgium; the YTH Live Conference in San Francisco, CA; the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands; and the International Conference on Family Planning in Kigali, Rwanda. MPTs reached broader audiences through Secretariat-authored pieces on YTH’s blog, the New York Times in association with Women in the World, Ms. Magazine, and the Stanford Social Innovation Review (authored by IMPT partners David Sawyer and David Ehrlichman). The IMPT’s blog also grew with 18 new posts in 2018, covering a range of critical topics including MPT products in the pipeline. We optimized use of social media to share MPT-relevant updates both within and outside the IMPT network – even publishing a Wikipedia page on MPTs to maximize ease of access to MPT information.

To accelerate action around priority technical areas to advance the MPT field, we focused-in on issues pertaining to future MPT end-users, the development of MPTs that combine hormonal contraceptives and ARVs, and the development of long-acting MPT products. We launched an interactive ArcGIS mapping tool to show the “hot spots” where HIV prevalence overlaps with the need for contraceptives in Sub Saharan Africa to identify areas where MPTs that combine contraception and HIV prevention could have the most public health impact. We facilitated a live webinar discussion on approaches to conducting end-user research, as well as a live webinar on opportunities and challenges for long-acting MPTs. We also developed a strategic action framework for multipurpose prevention technologies (MPTs) combining contraceptive hormones and antiretroviral drugs to prevent pregnancy and HIV, which was published in the European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care.

We are grateful to the MPT developers, researchers, funders, and advocates in the IMPT network whose steadfast dedication and collaboration scaffolds this innovative platform to improve the sexual and reproductive health of women worldwide.  Thanks to the efforts of IMPT network partners, the MPT field continues to progress – with new funding opportunities released, more investment in MPT R&D, new MPT products in the development pipeline, and more partner publications about MPT R&D and related issues. Given that MPTs’ potential public health impact is substantial but their development is complex, ongoing strategic collaboration and optimization of resources will continue to be critical.

Looking ahead, the start of 2019 marks the IMPT’s 10th anniversary! Stay tuned for a 10-year retrospective report in the coming months, as well as progress on exciting new projects. In our role as the IMPT learning network manager, we will continue to serve as an information and communications hub for the MPT field and to advance technical priorities including identification of the MPT target population, non-hormonal contraceptive MPTs, and building a business case for investing in the MPT field. Thank you for your engagement in our work, and we wish you all a positive and energizing 2019!