The ability of women and men to have equitable access to RH supplies, irrespective of their financial well-being. For many potential consumers, the cost of supplies has been a major, but not the only, barrier to accessing what they need and want for reproductive and sexual health. The need for equity also draws its inspiration from a rights-based approach to achieving better RH health.
Pathways to success
Advance national commitments to the principle of equity
The Coalition has, for a number of years, supported efforts to facilitate the entry into the global market of quality-assured products that meet World Health Organization Prequalification Programme product guidelines or are approved by Stringent Regulatory Authorities. While it is not in the Coalition’s manageable interest to directly address manufacturers’ production or procurement needs, our convening power and brand name offer manufacturers and the wider community a global platform for raising concerns, encouraging the market entry of generic manufacturers and sharing production and consumption data with the aim of increasing the supply of quality-assured products―both generic and innovator.
Leveraging the market to overcome inequity
The principle of equity is firmly rooted in the sexual and reproductive rights of individuals; it is within the context of social groupings, however, that the barriers to equity manifest themselves. The first step in ensuring equitable access to supplies, therefore, is understanding where inequities lay, the groups affected by them, and what we can bring to overcome them. Such an understanding constitutes an important step toward mitigation strategies, such as broad programmatic efforts or more targeted market-shaping initiatives. Again, the Coalition’s expertise in the total market and market-shaping arena and its ability to convene players within a neutral space position this pathway squarely within the Coalition’s manageable interest. In addition to the efforts of the MDA Working Group, the Coalition’s various Caucuses have worked to ensure that product designs and product delivery systems take into account cost and other barriers faced by marginalized populations.
Overcome barriers that limit access to the products people need
Many factors undermine equitable access to RH supplies. Cost is indeed one such factor where the Coalition has, to date, shown success. Another is ensuring availability of the product itself. Many groups are marginalized not because what they desire is unaffordable, but rather because the products they need are either not available or do not yet exist in the relevant market. By helping to negotiate price/ volume guarantees and support their implementation, and by promoting innovative financing options such as pledge guarantees, the Coalition can increase the prospects of getting into countries the products marginalized groups need. Ensuring these family planning and maternal health products reach the last mile, while outside the scope of this Pillar, does illustrate well the mutually supportive role of different Pillars and the actions inspired by each. Much of the work proposed under the Pillars of choice, availability, and even quality will likely have a direct bearing on efforts to overcome barriers that limit access to products people need.