August 2009 in Review
In the spotlight
Et maintenant... en français
Nos partenaires francophones auront pour la première fois accès aux dernières nouvelles de la Coalition en français. Ce mois-ci, le Secrétariat lance une version française de son site auquel les visiteurs pourront accéder soit en passant par la page d'accueil habituelle en anglais, soit en se rendant directement sur la page d'accueil en français : www.rhsupplies.org/fr. Ce lancement nous permet de mettre en ligne en français les deux premiers niveaux de l'architecture du site ainsi que tous les liens accessibles depuis la page d'accueil. La prochaine phase de ce projet de traduction, due en octobre, consistera en la traduction des niveaux trois et plus. Ce nouveau site en français est le résultat d'une collaboration entre le Secrétariat et Équilibres & Populations (E&P). En juin, E&P a reçu un financement de la part du Fonds pour l'innovation afin de sensibiliser à la sécurité des produits, tout particulièrement en Afrique francophone, et de renforcer les réseaux francophones, moyens de communications et autres outils nécessaires pour répondre aux besoins des pays en produits. Pour de plus amples informations, veuillez contacter Guillaume Jaskula.
Website now available in French
Our French-speaking partners will, for the first time, have regular access to Coalition news and updates in their own language. This month, the Secretariat launched the Coalition’s French-language website, which readers can now access, either via the site’s English homepage or at the new address: www.rhsupplies.org/fr. The launch brings online the first two levels of the website’s navigational architecture, along with any links accessible from the homepage. The remainder of the site will be completely translated by October. The new French-language site is a collaborative effort between the Secretariat and Coalition member Équilibres & Populations (E&P). In June, E&P received a grant from the Innovation Fund to raise awareness of supply security, particularly in francophone Africa, and to strengthen the French-language networks, communications media, and other tools needed to meet countries' supply needs. For more information on the translated site, contact Guillaume Jaskula.
Coalition on the scene
Coalition opens dialogue with Partners for Maternal Newborn and Child Health
At the June membership meeting, Coalition members called for greater commitment to reducing maternal death and morbidity through increased collaboration with relevant global initiatives and/or by strengthening supply chains that include essential maternal health commodities. Coalition Executive Committee Member Jagdish Upadhyay took an important step in that direction when he recently met with members of the Partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) to identify strategies for implementing activities under its new Strategic Plan. The activities include identifying a common minimum drug basket, developing integrated supply and procurement management systems at country level, and adding “value for money” by partnering with the private sector and/or other innovative mechanisms. Based on the outcomes of that meeting and discussions with other Coalition partners, John Skibiak met with Ann Starrs, President of Family Care International and Partnership Co-chair, to provide an overview of the Coalition and its work. In September, UNFPA and other Coalition members will meet with representatives of PMNCH in New York City and Geneva to explore opportunities for future collaboration.
ICON builds in-house capacity for quality assurance
This month, ICON’s Director, Chris Harris, and Technical Projects Manager, Roger Warde, visited the Secretariat, where they met with Coalition Director, John Skibiak. During their discussions, the two visitors highlighted a number of new initiatives currently underway at ICON-all of which are designed to increase the efficiency, cost-effectiveness and quality of the organization’s work. They noted, for example, ICON’s recent decision to move its storage and distribution facilities from the UK to a new facility located in Antwerp, Belgium–a move they expect will dramatically reduce transport costs and enhance efficiency. Chris also discussed efforts underway to assemble in-house staff with the skills needed to ensure that ICON-procured commodities meet the highest production, quality, and regulatory standards. This year, he recruited a new team of specialists in pharmaceutical quality control, national regulatory systems, and financial management. In the coming month, Chris will be meeting with the Leaders of the Systems Strengthening and Market Development Approaches Working Groups to share ICON’s experience and encourage a Coalition-wide dialogue on practical, timely strategies for assuring quality. For more information on ICON and their work, please contact Roger Warde.
Innovation Fund update
Working Group Leaders reported a dramatic increase in the number of inquiries and concept submissions for Round Three of the Coalition’s Innovation Fund, but also noted some misunderstandings regarding the aim of the Fund and the need for alignment between the content of grant proposals and that of the Working Group workplans. As noted on the Coalition website, applicants to the Innovation Fund must be active members of a Working Group and routine participants in that Group’s meetings, communications, and decision-making processes. The proposed activity must also correspond to the specific thematic focus of the Working Group (market development, resource mobilization, or systems strengthening) to which the applicant belongs. For further information on the Fund, please contact the Secretariat. The next due date for applications to the Fund is January 1, 2010.
This month the Coalition welcomes the International Council on Management of Population Programmes (ICOMP). ICOMP is an international NGO whose mission is to contribute towards achieving excellence in the management of quality population programs at country, regional and international levels. ICOMP promotes South-South cooperation, assists in institutional capacity building, accelerates the diffusion and scaling up of innovations, and provides networks for professional management resources. This newest addition now brings the Coalition membership to 97.
Highlights from the Working Groups
Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)
Project RMA: Earlier this month, 19 participants from 12 different countries in the Asia and Pacific regions gathered in Bali, Indonesia, to take part in a two-day workshop to strengthen their capacity in advocacy and leadership on RH Supplies prior to the 9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific in Indonesia (ICAAP). Organized by the Asia Pacific Alliance for ICPD, Family Planning International, and the German Foundation for World Population (DSW) under Project RMA, the workshop was designed to contribute to efforts to strengthen the political and financial environment for access to RH supplies in the Asia and Pacific Regions by supporting and fostering NGO leadership and strengthening NGO advocacy capacity for the 9th ICAAP. Participants strengthened their advocacy skills and developed key messages on meeting reproductive health targets, and were also provided with tools to strengthen their capacity to advocate for increased support for RH supplies, specific to the Asia and Pacific regions. Following the workshop, participants applied their new skills and knowledge during the ICAAP.
Systems Strengthening Working Group (SSWG)
RHInterchange (RHI): In the month of August, the RHI welcomed two new data providers: Population Services International, which is providing information on their global contraceptive shipments, and the Medical Stores Department in Tanzania, which is submitting information on Ministry of Health-funded contraceptive procurements. The RHI also recently welcomed new users from Sudan, the United States, Ghana, Australia, and India, as well as returning visitors from Thailand, Uganda, Nepal, Ethiopia, and Sierra Leone, among other countries. Program managers, researchers, and advocates interested in data on shipments of contraceptives to countries around the world are invited to register for the RHInterchange.
Countries at Risk (CAR): The CAR continued working this month to address emergency stock issues and requests for shipment information. In response to CAR requests, UNFPA has approved centrally funded donations of commodities to relieve stockouts of male condoms, combined oral pills, and injectable contraceptives for the Dominican Republic, as well as combined oral contraceptives and injectables for Honduras. UNFPA also allocated funds for a shipment of progestin-only pills to ensure that the pipeline remains full until future procurements arrive. USAID cancelled planned shipments of IUDs and progestin-only pills to Ghana as these commodities were already extremely overstocked. CAR members also provided shipment information to approximately 20 requests from various countries. For additional information contact Kevin Pilz.
Market Development Approaches Working Group (MDA WG)
Save the date: During its regular teleconference earlier this month, the MDA WG discussed the need for a face-to-face meeting of the Working Group. The purpose of this meeting will be to discuss and finalize the Working Group’s revised workplan, including new and updated workstreams. This meeting will be hosted by John Snow International (JSI) in Washington, DC, and is tentatively schedule for 3-4 November. For more information, contact Working Group Leader Ben Light.
For more details on the above and other events, see the events calendar on the Coalition website.