December 2007 in Review





In the spotlight




East African Reproductive Health Network highlights supplies

The first of five Project RMA sub-regional meetings to promote awareness of reproductive health (RH) commodity security, engage regional bodies, and facilitate knowledge-sharing was held on December 2-5, 2007 in Kampala, Uganda. This workshop was the result of collaboration among Coalition members DSW, UNFPA, and Partners in Population and Development (PPD) with the East African Reproductive Health Network (EARHN). Convened as a strategic planning meeting for the EARHN, the workshop provided an opportunity for Project RMA to ensure that commodity security was included in a multi-year planning document prepared by government representatives from five East African countries. The workshop also set the stage for subsequent work across Sub-Saharan Africa and with other regional bodies. Speakers included three Ministers from Uganda and two Ugandan Members of Parliament. Workshop participants were drawn from Ghana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, IPPF Africa Region, UNFPA, SADC Parliamentarians Forum, the East African Community, the African Union, as well as from Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, and Ethiopia. Coalition members Terri Bartlett (PAI), Jennifer Johnson (PAI), Steve Kinzett (Secretariat), and Carolyn Vogel (PAI) attended the meeting and gave support to organizer Pam Foster (DSW).

Membership of the EARHN is made up of line ministries from East African countries, and the network was launched by PPD more than a decade ago to ensure both political will for RH issues and a mechanism for implementing RH policies, frameworks, and other agreements. It is a significant achievement for RH commodity security advocacy that the network has fully taken on board the importance of promoting commodity security.

The next sub-regional workshop is being planned for West Africa (first quarter 2008) and initial discussions are underway for locations and partners for future work in Southern Africa, South Asia, and South East Asia. For further information, contact programme organizer Pam Foster of DSW.






Coalition on the scene




Coalition adds 12 new members in December

The Coalition continues to grow with 12 new members joining in December. This follows the admission of 16 new members in November. As part of the registration process and to build new linkages, the Secretariat has informed the Working Groups (WGs) of new members’ interest in the topical areas most relevant to their work. For more information on the Coalition's membership policy or to register as a member, please click here.


December new member registrations

Abt Associates

Alatech Healthcare LLC

Bayer Schering Pharma AG

Concept Foundation

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University


International Contraceptive Access Foundation

Nesmark Foundation

Pathfinder International

Population Council

Population Services International (PSI)

PSP-One Project



Hotels chosen for ninth membership meeting

The European Commission and Secretariat have selected two hotels—the Aris Grand Place Hotel Brussels and the Jolly Sablon—for the next Coalition membership meeting to be held in Brussels on May 22-23, 2008. An Executive Committee meeting will precede the meeting on May 21. Resotel, a Belgian hotel reservation service working with a range of hotels with competitive conditions, has been appointed to assist members with their reservations. More details will be provided as they become available.


West Africa regional workshop on WHO Prequalification Programme

On December 4–6, 2007, Coalition members WHO, UNFPA and PATH joined with the West African Health Organization (WAHO) to lead a West African regional workshop on the WHO Prequalification Programme for Essential RH Medicines. Held in Dakar, Senegal, the workshop aimed to acquaint national procurement and regulatory officials with the WHO Prequalification Programme. It addressed good procurement practices and resources, the role of prequalification in the procurement process, and quality assurance. The workshop included 24 participants from Benin, Cote d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. They included in-country procurement specialists, drug and pharmaceutical regulatory agencies, and logistics experts, many of whom form part of WAHO's Informed Buying System for RH supplies.

PATH, WHO, and UNFPA are leading a similar workshop in Nicaragua on January 8-10, and will lead three workshops aimed at condom manufacturers in early 2008. The sponsors also plan to convene a half-day workshop for large-scale procurers and donors in conjunction with the Coalition’s May membership meeting. The workshops are supported through a grant to PATH from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Additional information on the workshop series is available from PATH Senior Programme Officer Janet Vail.






Highlights from the Working Groups




Systems Strengthening Working Group (SSWG)

Minimum Volume Guarantee/Pledge Guarantee (MVG/PG) mechanism: In November, the World Bank launched Expressions of Interest (EOI) to design a proof-of-concept of the MVG/PG mechanism. This was followed in December with a formal Request for Proposals (RFP). Five pre-qualified companies have been invited to submit proposals, and their offers are scheduled to be evaluated by the end of January.

The Secretariat is coordinating the implementation of the design study, assisted by David Smith and Morten Sorensen (UNFPA), Sangeeta Raja (World Bank), KfW consultant Sandra Rolet, and a technical expert from USAID | DELIVER. For more information on the MVG/PG, contact the Secretariat.

Supply Chain Management Tools Software Review: The consultant team from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland has been making steady progress in its work and an initial consultative workshop for technical specialists will be held on January 28 in New York. Invitations to this workshop are limited—please contact the joint activity managers, Alan Bornbusch or Jagdish Upadhyay.

Countries At Risk (CAR) Group: This month, the CAR addressed a number of potential supply problems including pending stock-outs in Bangladesh, Kenya, and Mozambique; overstocks of IUDs in Ethiopia; and shortages of pills in Ghana and Zimbabwe. USAID has planned at least two emergency air shipments (one for condoms to Bangladesh and one for pills to Kenya) and others are bringing forward scheduled shipments where possible. The Group’s next meeting is scheduled for January 23. Contact Steve Kinzett for any information.

Market Development Approaches Working Group (MDA WG)

No MDA meeting took place this month. Nonetheless, the USAID | PSP-One project has begun efforts to measure MDAs by taking as its starting point the scope of work originally developed to formulate total market indicators. In addition, concept papers written on new indicators for social marketing have been shared with the MDA WG.

A draft report of the October meeting with manufacturers and private-sector members was circulated for review. The final report will be issued in mid-January. For more information, contact MDA WG leader Ben Light.

Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)

Project RMA has announced the first round of small grant recipients. Recipients include: Asia Pacific Alliance, African Youth Parliament, Global AIDS Alliance, East African Reproductive Health Network (EARHN), the Youth Coalition, the Central and Eastern European Women’s Network for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (ASTRA), and the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO). Grants will support efforts to monitor the impact of Global Fund grants at strengthening RH supplies, youth advocacy efforts to increase financial commitments and support for RH supplies, a variety of regional targeted advocacy efforts, and advocacy for universal access to a comprehensive response to HIV that includes female and male condoms. For more information, please contact Mercedes Mas de Xaxàs and Jessica Bernstein of PAI.






Upcoming events




8–10 January

WHO Prequalification Programme Procurement Workshop; Managua, Nicaragua


15 January

MDA Working Group teleconference; 11.00 EST

23 January

Countries at Risk (CAR) teleconference; 10.00 EST

23–25 January

WHO Prequalification Programme for Condoms Workshop; Beijing, China

28 January

Supply Chain Management Tools Software Review consultative workshop; New York

28–30 January

WHO Prequalification Programme for Condoms Workshop; Bangkok, Thailand

19–21 February

WHO Prequalification Programme for Condoms Workshop; New Delhi, India

22–23 May

Coalition Membership and Executive Committee Meetings; Brussels, Belgium

18–20 June

Reproductive Health in Emergencies Conference 2008; Kampala, Uganda
(see for more details)









Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition

Rue Marie-Thérèse, 21
1000 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 (0)2 210.02.22
Fax: +32 (0)2 219.33.63