August 2008 in Review
In the spotlight
New report on MVG/PG now available online
This month saw the eagerly awaited publication of 'Designing a Global Financing and Procurement Mechanism for Reproductive Health Supplies'. The report, which can be accessed here, documents the development of the new Minimum Volume Guarantee/Pledge Guarantee (MVG/PG) mechanisms; outlines how each will work in practice; details their anticipated costs and benefits; and sets forth a preliminary implementation plan. Although publication of the report marks the end of the MVG/PG’s initial design phase, work is already underway to identify and bring on board the two agencies that will manage each mechanism, strengthen their organizational capacities, assist them in starting up implementation, initiate country outreach and test marketing, and engage key donors and supporters in the reproductive health (RH) community. The Secretariat is also actively engaged with key members of the MVG/PG advisory group to identify opportunities to disseminate the new report, generate interest in the two mechanisms, and use their contents to leverage support from within the broader RH community. Potential dissemination venues under consideration include Brussels, Geneva, and Washington DC. For more information, contact MVG/PG Advisory Group Coordinator, John Skibiak.
Coalition on the scene
European Parliamentary Forum joins the Coalition
This month, the Secretariat welcomed the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (EPF) as the Coalition's 71st member. EPF is the only Europe-based Parliamentary network with an exclusive focus on RH. Spanning the European continent with 25 all-party groups in Parliaments, EPF provides a pan-European framework for Parliamentarians to forge consensus and collaborate on resource mobilization strategies. EPF’s Secretariat, headquartered in Brussels, works with Parliamentarians, NGOs, and international organizations to advance funding and policy changes for global sexual and reproductive health and rights. To apply for membership in the Coalition, click here.
Consultant chosen for Global Advocacy project
As the first step in developing a strategic framework for Global Advocacy, independent consultant Mary Jo Lazear has been contracted by UNFPA to undertake a mapping exercise of the current RH supplies situation with respect to policy and resource mobilization at global, regional, and national levels. As well as summarizing current activities and identifying existing overlaps, the exercise will identify obstacles, gaps, and opportunities for improvement. For more information, contact Ben Light at UNFPA.
Membership speaks out on Secretariat
Nel Druce of HLSP is currently analyzing the results of last month’s member survey on the performance and future vision of the Coalition’s Brussels-based Secretariat. The questionnaire, which was sent to each of the Coalition’s member organizations, covered six broad areas. These included Secretariat scope and effectiveness, continued relevance of focus areas and activities, staffing, and location. Despite the limited response period, the survey achieved an overall response rate of just under 40%. By contrast (and somewhat predictably), it saw an almost universal response by organizations whose membership preceded the advent of the Coalition’s new membership policy. Full results of the questionnaire will be written up and distributed to all Coalition members during September. In the meantime, key findings are already being incorporated into a draft concept paper, which the Executive Committee has asked the Secretariat to prepare as a basis for further discussions over the financial sustainability of the Secretariat. For more information, contact Coalition Director John Skibiak.
Members and methods update
Bayer Schering Pharma to supply oral contraceptives to USAID
Bayer Schering Pharma AG announced that it will supply up to 110 million cycles per year of its oral contraceptives Microgynon® 30 ED Fe and Microlut® for USAID-supported public and social marketing family planning programmes in Africa, Asia and Middle East, Europe, and Latin America. The contract was signed with the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT. Click here for more information.
FHI successfully registers Sino-implant (II) in Kenya
Family Health International (FHI) has announced that Pharm Access Africa Limited (PAAL) successfully registered Sino-implant (II), a subdermal contraceptive implant, in Kenya. The implants are manufactured by Shanghai Dahua Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. and will be marketed in Kenya under the trade name Zarin™. The registration of Sino-implant (II) in Kenya is the first in a series of submissions—coordinated by FHI—to drug regulatory authorities across Africa. Representatives from FHI’s Nairobi office will be discussing the introduction of Zarin™ with officials at Kenya’s Division of Reproductive Health in the near future. Click here for more information.
PATH's female condom to be made in China
After a worldwide search, PATH has found a commercial partner to manufacture the “PATH Woman’s Condom”—a new female condom developed by PATH in collaboration with stakeholders in several developing countries. PATH president and CEO Dr. Christopher J. Elias recently signed a licensing and collaboration agreement with the president of Shanghai Dahua Medical Apparatus Company. Dahua specializes in high-quality, low-cost, disposable medical devices made from plastic. As part of the agreement, PATH and Dahua will work together to keep manufacturing costs low and set a price that is affordable to public health programmes in China. For more information, click here or contact Joanie Robertson, Manager of PATH's Technology Solutions Global Program.
Highlights from the Working Groups
Systems Strengthening Working Group (SSWG)
Countries at Risk (CAR): Over the last few months, the CAR group has become more active between meetings in sharing shipment information and resolving stock issues. This month, members of the group provided contraceptive shipment updates and information to nine countries prior to the latest meeting on August 27. At the meeting itself, the CAR group discussed possible solutions to a severe shortage of implants in Bangladesh, the need for emergency IUD shipments to Kenya, and the possibility of using upcoming procurements to resolve a female condom stockout. USAID also reported that it would ship implants and IUDs to Uganda to address dwindling stocks of those methods. Finally, the CAR group discussed mechanisms for improving nationwide contraceptive stock visibility in Nigeria, as well as in UNFPA’s Global Contraceptive Commodity Programme for that country. Contact Kevin Pilz for information.
RHInterchange (RHI): Thanks to outreach efforts by UNFPA, USAID and the RHI team, RHI website registrations were received this month from Bolivia, Denmark, India, Jordan, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Sudan, Ukraine, USA, and Uzbekistan. In addition, the International Association of Public Health Logisticians (IAPHL), an online professional community, featured the RHI on its online forum.
Supply data from Crown Agents has just been added to the RHI, which now enables the tool to include DFID procurements from 2006 to present. The new data accounts for over $21 million of supplies for five countries (Cambodia, Kenya, Nigeria, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe). Contact Mimi Whitehouse for more information.
Market Development Approaches Working Group (MDA WG)
Rebecca Patsika from Abt Associates, focal person for the Market Segmentation Toolkit workstream, is requesting all Coalition members to forward to her any materials they may have used or produced in defining a supply or demand strategy in a country. In her request to MDA WG Head, Ben Light, Rebecca Patsika said she was looking for examples of documents that could be illustrative in documenting the market segmentation approach. These could include conceptual frameworks, case studies, research protocols, statistical analysis methods, questionnaires, and reports on research results. Click here to access more details. Materials should be submitted to Rebecca Patsika, with a copy to Steve Kinzett and Ben Light by December 1.
Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)
As the newsletter went to press, the Secretariat received notification that the RMA WG members have elected Neil Datta and Sandra Jordan to serve as RMA WG Co-Chairs for the coming two years. Neil, who will represent the WG on the Executive Committee, is Secretary of the Brussels-based "European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development". Sandra Jordan serves as Director of Communications in USAID's Office of Population and Reproductive Health. In announcing the election of the new Co-Chairs, WG members expressed their thanks and appreciation to colleagues from PAI who have successfully led the WG for the past five years.
Project RMA: Project RMA has just issued its second Request for Proposals (RFP) targeting NGO networks that wish to engage in RH supplies advocacy at the regional and global levels. The RFP aims to facilitate increased understanding of new and existing advocacy targets, and support the development of messages and strategies to influence these targets. All proposals are due to PAI by September 17. Please contact Jess Bernstein for information.
Following last month's Project RMA meeting in Uganda, the Ugandan Minister of Finance has pledged an additional 100 million Ugandan Shillings (US $69,500) for RH and RH supplies. Reproductive Health Uganda hosted the meeting as an opportunity to educate allies and highlight how RH supplies will help Uganda reduce their maternal mortality ratio—currently at 880 per 100,000 live births. Video interviews with participants of the meeting are now available on YouTube. Click here to read more.
UMATI, Tanzania's IPPF affiliate, has begun advocating for increased district-level financing of RH supplies. A recent meeting of civil society partners from Morogoro, Songea, Magu, and Moshi districts highlighted the need for awareness raising and increased resources for RH supplies. Outcomes of the meeting include plans to advocate for increased resources; the creation of RH supplies budget lines at district level; the sensitization of community leaders and decision makers; and awareness raising activities addressing the importance of family planning. Contact Sarah Shaw of IPPF for more information.
RH/HIV integration: Partners in the "Mobilizing for RH/HIV Integration" Initiative met last July in Geneva, where they learned that out of the Initiative's 10 focus countries, eight submitted integrated RH/HIV proposals to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM). The Initiative also met with representatives of UNAIDS, WHO, UNFPA, and civil society organizations to exchange information and coordinate efforts to promote integration. And a number of the Initiative's partners, including IPPF, held a series of sessions on RH/HIV integration at the 17th International AIDS Conference, held earlier this month in Mexico City. For more information, contact Mercedes Mas de Xaxas .
For more details on the above and other events, see the events calendar on the Coalition website.