Forging the Path to Better Reproductive Health Technologies
PHI's CAMI Health is building and leading learning networks to foster collaborations, manage knowledge, and set priority actions for Multipurpose Prevention Technologies (MPTs).
144% Investments in MPTs has grown by 144% during CAMI Health's time working to promote the field.
Capacity Building & Leadership, Communicable Disease Prevention, Data, Technology & Innovation, Global Health, Women, Youth & Children
Reproductive & Sexual Health, Technology & Telehealth
Coalition & Network Building, Public-Private Partnerships
Bethany Young Holt, PhD, MPH, BS
PHI’s CAMI Health, a group dedicated to improving the health of women and girls worldwide, is building and leading learning networks to foster collaborations, manage knowledge, and set priority actions for new reproductive health technologies.
A key insight came for CAMI when Executive Director Bethany Young Holt realized that many of the same factors that put women in sub-Saharan Africa at risk for HIV and unintended pregnancy also affect college women in the U.S. Dr. Holt was shocked when she realized that, aside from condoms, there are really no single options for women who want to prevent pregnancy and protect themselves from HIV and other STIs.
This means that women around the world face similar struggles around condom negotiation in imbalanced relationships, and lack the reproductive health tools they need for sexual and reproductive independence.
Enter Multipurpose Prevention Technologies (MPTs), a suite of products that combine prevention of at least two sexual and reproductive health (SRH) risks, including HIV, other STIs, and unintended pregnancy. In 2009, CAMI Health co-founded the Initiative for Multipurpose Prevention Technologies (IMPT) to jump-start development of this nascent field by building and leading learning networks to foster collaborations, manage information, create awareness and set priority actions for MPT development.
At the inception of the IMPT, the notion of MPT development was mostly aspirational. Today the MPT concept is well established within the broader fields of sexual and reproductive health, as well as within the HIV prevention space. In 2016, both the National Institutes of Health and World Health Organization for the first time prioritized MPTs in their reproductive health strategies. As of early 2020, there are over two dozen products in varying stages of development in the MPT product development pipeline (tracked in the IMPT’s online MPT Product Development Database), including vaginal rings and diaphragms containing antiviral or antimicrobial gels, injectables that stop pregnancy and disease, a nanofiber vaginal film infused with spermicide and anti-HIV medications and several others. Investments also skyrocketed: between 2013 (when tracking began) and 2018, overall R&D investments in MPTs grew by 144%.
Since its founding, CAMI Health has served as the Secretariat of the IMPT, coordinating the tools and resources needed by researchers, product developers, funders, policymakers, and advocates who rely on the network for objective technical guidance and strategic planning related to MPTs. Entering its second decade, the IMPT is advancing its aim to empower women around the world with the technologies they need to protect themselves from sexual and reproductive health risks.