Nepal CRS Project officially began in July 1976. However, the Letter of Agreement was accepted in principle in 1978 by the Ministry of Finance, GON as Nepal CRS Project (Nepal FP/MCH Project) with financial support from Westinghouse Electric Inc, America.
In May 31, 1978 the then Princess Prekshya inaugurated the Social Marketing of Dhaal (condoms) at Rs 0.50/3-unit pack & Gulaf (pills) at Rs 1.50/cycle. It was sold through 55 outlets in Kathmandu and generated 891 CYP in the first month of operation. In 1980, CRS was the first in the market to introduce a condom vending machine in Kathmandu at Ratna Park.
The National Commission on Population (NCP) recommended that CRS should be institutionalized as a not-for-profit company to be designated to the Ministry for Health as the implementing agency. The Prime Minsters’ cabinet of ministers endorsed the NCP’s recommendation in January 1983.
In 1983, the CRS/MCH project was converted into a private “social marketing” autonomous company known as Nepal Contraceptive Retail Sales (CRS) Company registered under the Company Act, 2021 BS in Nepal. Since then, CRS is managed by Nepalese staff and governed by an independent Board of Directors. CRS is the only social marketing company working as a not-for-profit organization.
The major components of CRS include the social marketing of condoms, family planning and health products. In addition, CRS implements various behavior change communication programs all across the country.
Having pioneered social marketing, CRS established itself as a leading public health organization in Nepal. CRS became synonymous with family planning just as its condom brand, Dhaal, became generic to condoms. CRS’ marketing efforts have helped to lower cultural and societal taboos by openly discussing family planning.
Nepal CRS Project was using the Nepal FP/MCH logo till 1983. In 1984, CRS introduced its own logo featuring a male and a female child within the loving and protective hands of a father and mother - a bold departure from the past.
As part of its social marketing initiatives, CRS introduced a pilot community-based distribution program in 1985 in two districts - Syangja and Dolkha - using traditional faith healers (TFH). The program was supported by Program for International Training in Health (INTRAH). In Dolkha, TFH were used to sell and promote contraceptives and ORS where as in Syangja women were employed to do so. With the success of the pilot community based distribution (CBD) program in Syangja and Dolkha, the company extended the CBD as “Rural Social Marketing (RSM) program in two more districts namely Nawalparasi and Sarlahi establishing the RSM cell within its administrative set-up.
In 1985, CRS' male and female contraceptive advertising campaign won the coveted MAX LEWIS MEMORIAL CHALLENGE AWARD held during the 15th Asian Advertising Congress in Bangkok, Thailand.
In 1997, CRS established a partnership with KfW to support family planning and health activities through social marketing programs. The support included funding for commodities, marketing support and foreign technical assistance for the first phase. KfW facilitated the successful launch and social marketing of CRS’s Nava Jeevan orange-flavored oral rehydration salts (ORS) and Sunaulo Gulaf combined oral contraceptive pills.
The success of the Nava Jeevan brand is a legend beyond CRS’ corporate history. It serves as a benchmark for the Nepali social marketing industry. From 2007, CRS procured low-Osmolarity ORS with its own resources, illustrating the return on KfW’s original investment. Nava Jeevan is now a “graduated”, self-sustaining social marketing product – the first in Nepal.
The year 2002-2006 marked the partnership with Population Services International (PSI). Subsequently in 2006 that CRS partnered with Academy for Educational Development (AED) to win the USAID Nepal Social Marketing and Franchising Project: AIDS, Reproductive Health, and Child Survival (N-MARC). CRS carries out all advertising and media activities with technical assistance from AED.
In 2007 (the first time since 1997), CRS revitalized Dhaal Deluxe and Panther premium condoms with new packaging and communication campaigns. It has also introduced the two-rod implant Jadelle, replacing the six-rod Norplant. This was carried out in Kathmandu valley as a pilot initiative through a network of private doctors.
In order to address issues on post-partum hemorrhage and maternal health, CRS, in partnership with Family Health Division- GoN, Nepal Fertility Care Center (NFCC) and with financial support from Venture Strategies for Innovations, introduced Matri Surakchya Chakki (Misoprostol) tablets. It started this pilot initiative in Bardiya district through 46 Sangini Franchising outlets targeting Married Women of Reproductive Age (MWRAs) groups. The campaign has already been extended to four other districts viz. Banke, Rupendehi, Nawalparasi and Chitwan.
In June, 2009 CRS has added a new brand of emergency contraceptive pills called ‘e-CON’ in its health products portfolio. The launch was held at Yak & Yeti hotel and Dr Dirgha Singh Bam, Honorary Secretary, Ministry of Health graced the event.
In May 2010, USAID awarded CRS the Ghar Ghar Maa Swasthya(Healthy Homes) project. CRS implements the project in technical support of FHI 360. Ghar Ghar Maa Swasthya project seeks to graduate CRS to become a viable private sector company and also to increase the availability and accessibility of health products in hard-to-reach rural areas. The program aims to assist GoN to expand the depth, reach, and impact of the private sector in social marketing , and provide low-cost maternal and child health, family planning, and HIV prevention products and services.
Similarly, in January 2011, CRS officially launched the CURe STI treatment kit for male urethritis through 100 Sangini Franchising Outlets spanning the length of the east-west highway. CURe is an all-in-one treatment option for men suffering from male urethritis and contains 2 tablets Azithromycin (500mg each), two tablets of Cefixime (200mg each), six units of condoms and an information sheet on the treatment of male urethritis. The launch of CURe is the result of 18 months collaboration between KfW, USAID/Nepal, National Center for AIDS and STD Control and CRS. The service of CURe has been further expanded to 101 Sangini Franchising Outlets.
CRS has been very successful in improving availability and visibility of its products, mainly due to its intensive distribution strategy and logistics support. As of 2012, CRS has a fleet of 33 distributors, 500 plus medical wholesalers, and 9,000 plus medical outlets working within its distribution network. As for geographical coverage, CRS condoms and health products are available in 75 districts. Similarly, CRS has expanded the Sangini Franchising Networks in all 75 districts and Sangini services are available through 3,301 Sangini outlets.
Since its inception, CRS has supported the government in its mission to reduce Nepal’s population growth rate through education and social marketing of contraceptives.
From inception till July '12, CRS has generated a total Couple Year Protection (CYP) of 4,583,356. The company has undertaken major activities in '08 to upgrade and revive its brands - Dhaal Deluxe and Panther Premium condoms were re–launched in new packs. New communication campaigns for female contraceptives (pills and injectables) were also developed. Likewise, in 2011 CRS has added the services for Intra-Uterine Contraceptive Device (IUCD) in selected Sangini Franchising Outlets of Piuthan, Salyan and Rolpa.
The Company will hence continue to serve the Nepalese population by adding new and innovative products in order to continue its 34 years of legacy as a successful social marketing organization.
- Dr. Senendra Raj Upreti, Director, Family Health Division, MOHP- Chairman
- Mr. Madan Prasad Rimal - Social Welfare Council - Member
- Mr. Saroj Kumar Kasaju – Nepal Airlines Corporation - Member
- Mr. Mahesh Raj Pant- CG Foods - Member
- Mr. Jagannath Acharya - Administration Department, NEBICO- Member
- Mr. Radha Krishna Pradhan- National Planning Commission- Advisor
- Dr. Yesho Vardan Pradhan- Invitee
- Mr. Krishna Bahadur Rayamajhi, CRS Managing Director - Member Secretary
CRS is a social marketing not-for-profit company dedicated to enhancing the development and quality of health of the under-privileged and vulnerable populations of Nepal by stimulating commercial sector growth and implementing marketing and communications programs that create change.
Nepal CRS Company is funding its social marketing programs with support from two international donors. They are United States Agency for International Development/Nepal and KFW, the Development Bank of Germany. In addition, it has an internal source of funds from the sales proceeds of its products.
CRS Company is a non-profit Social Marketing Organization operating in the Health and Family Planning sector of Nepal. Its prime mandate is to increase awareness and use of health and Family Planning (FP) products among the people of Nepal by using modern marketing tools and techniques.