This year, we at the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition picked up our pace and upped our game. With our eyes fixed firmly on the coming decade, we pulled out all the stops to get women the lifesaving reproductive health supplies they need.
We published the Global Contraceptive Commodity Gap Analysis 2018 and gave readers first-hand access to the data underlying it. We launched the Gap Analysis hub, which offers an interactive Dashboard, customizable for 135 countries. Snapshots allow users to pull data for bespoke and pre-selected groups of countries, and the Mind The Gap webinar series highlights findings of relevance to audiences in English and Spanish. The Gap Analysis hub has been accessed over 2500 times since it was launched in July.
At our 2018 General Membership Meeting, we paired 12 seasoned reproductive health supplies professionals with younger partners, or “Fellows”. Young participants of the inaugural Supply Fellows Initiative left Brussels with career guidance, future opportunities and key introductions. The scheme looks set to expand in scope and impact.
This year, the online resource #Dónde reached peak performance, geo-referencing 8,000 RH supplies outlets in Argentina. Or so we thought, until IPPF WHR joined forces with #Donde’s developer Fundación Huésped to scale up the model to reach 30 countries across Latin America. A continent away in India, the e-commerce portal Doctorstore was acquired by DKT India and now distributes more than 80 products to registered doctors across India.
Changes in commodity procurement are reshaping the global market for FP supplies. Cross-border manufacturing, the advent of volume pricing, and new commercial opportunities mean that the distinction between generic and innovator is becoming less and less clear than it was even a decade ago. In some instances, innovators find themselves acting more like generics, and generics more like innovators. Seeing the opportunities to learn from one another and, where appropriate, to act as one, the Coalition’s manufacturing members are joining together, both in person and on calls, to prioritize issues, raise concerns, and find common solutions.
A new carbon financing workstream within the MDA Working Group is supporting efforts by Coalition member BelieveGreen to develop a new approach for certifying the developmental impacts of family planning programs, and in particular, reductions in carbon emissions. By packaging these projected reductions for trade in voluntary carbon markets, revenues can then be generated to support family planning programs. Launched this year, workstream members are providing input into a formal methodology for certifying the sustainable developmental impacts of family planning programs.
After years of sitting on the sidelines, countries across Latin America are once again speaking out about greater access to affordable, quality supplies. They are also putting to successful use many of the tools and strategies that have helped other countries reduce prices, improve procurement terms, and increase contraceptive access. Our work this year with national procurers and rural health authorities has yielded better cost information, encouraged countries to share procurement data, and inspired local health authorities to speak truth to power. Latin America, which was once the world pioneer in introducing reproductive health supplies and services, is today reaping the benefits of the global movement it inspired.
Nearly every diagnostic tool in the RH commodities space was developed by Coalition members to confront the obstacles that impede the flow of goods and supplies. Increasingly, however, we’ve found ourselves struggling to make the most efficient use of these tools. Some of them rely on dated technology, others are simply relics of a pre-digital age. This year, and for the first time ever, the Global FP VAN enabled us to integrate and aggregate data from all these different tools into one platform. Global FP VAN members today can access and analyze order and shipment data from over 95 countries and track historical inventory data from 32 countries.
Since our beginnings, we have led from behind, endeavoring to apply a supplies-lens to the ever-evolving interests of our growing membership. This year, we continued that tradition, embarking on a host of new ideas and topics. We began looking at quality standards for menstrual health/hygiene products, an area of increasing importance given the growing diversity in product options. We partnered with the humanitarian community to improve commodity security in fragile settings. And we broadened the scope of our work in maternal health to encompass antihypertensives, uterotonics, and devices for monitoring blood pressure.
This year, we returned by more than six-fold, every dollar invested in the Coalition. We generated cost savings of more than $20M, much of it in Latin America. We drove over $12M in new product procurement through the CSP, and member organizations around the world contributed at least $1.4M in cash and in kind to support Coalition initiatives. We also allocated over $1M in small grants to eleven Coalition members through our Innovation Fund.
UNFPA Supplies closed out 2018 with the means to gather country- and facility-based data, monitor data collection in real time, and share results with the wider health community. With funding from a Coalition grant to IT provider Systmapp, nine facility-based surveys are either completed or currently underway. The surveys look at method choice across different service delivery levels; stockout levels by method and facility level; effectiveness of supply chains and supply chain management; availability and technical capacity of service providers; and key attributes of the service delivery environment. This year also saw 98% of all UNFPA Supplies priority countries complete online questionnaires, which monitor national program performance across four dimensions: Supply Chain; Environment; Procurement; and Service.