December 2009 in Review
In the spotlight
Coalition releases 2007-2009 Monitoring report

Between 2007 and 2009, donor funding for reproductive health (RH) supplies in the Coalition’s fourteen focus countries increased by 40 percent, compared to a 23 percent increase globally, across countries. The same period also saw a 120 percent jump in the number of focus countries with contraceptives on their Essential Drugs Lists. And in October 2009, almost 70 percent of Coalition member organizations included either the name of the Coalition or the words “reproductive health supplies” on their websites.

These are just a few of the findings contained in the Coalition’s 2007-2009 Monitoring Report. Released this month, the draft report tracks changes in 30 quantitative and qualitative indicators used to monitor implementation of the Coalition’s Strategic Plan. Drawing on data provided by member organizations, the report examines two sets of indicators. One set includes values derived from the focus countries. These indicators measure the impact of Coalition efforts on the ground, specifically where the Coalitionthrough the actions of its memberscan claim some direct attribution. The other set, which aggregates global data, monitors the evolution of global institutions and/or tracks supply-related changes beyond the focus countries. The draft report is available for download here. For more information, or to provide additional information to the report, please contact the Secretariat's Technical Officer, Steve Kinzett.

Coalition on the scene
The Population Council’s Ian Askew visits Brussels

On 5 December, the Secretariat hosted a brownbag for Dr. Ian Askew, Director of Reproductive Health Services and Research at the Population Council. While Secretariat staff and other Brussels-based colleagues enjoyed their lunches, Ian described the Council’s work in HIV/AIDS, Poverty/Gender/Youth, and RH, making special note of their ongoing work in the area of technology development, both for contraception andmore recentlySTI protection. Another area of discussion was the synergistic relationship among three areas: social science research (for which the Council is perhaps best known), service delivery, and advocacy. Finally, Ian touched on the Council’s vast experience in systems strengthening, highlighting the use of voucher schemes as a means to improve the quality of services and maximize the total market for RH services.  

Moving forward with maternal health supplies

On 8 December, Population Action International (PAI) invited key representatives of the maternal health (MH) community to a discussion on supply security. The purpose of this meeting was to introduce PAI’s new MH supplies project and gain stakeholder insight on MH supplies advocacy needs, challenges, and best practices to date. The Secretariat’s Bonnie Keith provided background information on the Coalition, highlighting the Coalition’s commitment to address MH supply challenges. A number of critical issues emerged from the discussion, such as the need to highlight MH supplies in advocacy efforts, the importance of tracking MH supplies, and the critical need for agreement on a core list of essential MH supplies. PAI also confirmed that country case studies would be conducted in Bangladesh and Uganda, with initial work beginning in January and likely including the following MH supplies: misoprostol, MVA equipment, oxytocin, and magnesium sulphate with IV fluids. For more information please contact Jennifer Bergeson-Lockwood at PAI.

Coalition’s Newest Members

The year 2009 ended with a bang as the Coalition surpassed its 100 member mark! In December, the Coalition welcomed three new members, bringing our total membership to 101.

  • WomanCare Global LLC: WomanCare Global focuses on expanding the availability and use of high-quality women’s RH technologies around the world with a focus on safe and effective abortion and contraceptive products. In addition to increasing access, WomanCare Global works to reduce the costs of essential technologies.
  • Options: A UK-based consulting firm, Options provides consulting services to strengthen services, increase access, and improve the quality of health and social care at all levels of the health system. Options aims to improve the health and quality of life of poor and marginalized women and their families.
  • Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR): A unit of India's Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, ICMR conducts research on a wide array of health topics, with the aim of reducing the total burden of disease and promoting the health and well-being of the country’s population.
Marie Stopes International puts the RHI to strategic use

A real-life story, like a picture, is often worth a thousand words. Last month, Coalition member Marie Stopes International/Mali sang the praises of the RHInterchange (RHI), describing how it helped them to acquire Jadelle implants for use in their clinics. By using RHI data to track a government shipment of Jadelle, MSI/Mali staff met the shipment as it arrived, thereby being able to secure enough Jadelle to continue their ongoing service delivery. This procurement helped MSI/Mali meet a substantial part of its estimated need for implants in 2010.

To track shipments in the RHI database, go to the RHI website, click on Shipment History, and select the country or countries you wish to view. You must be registered with the RHI to view shipment histories; click here to register.

Highlights from the Working Groups
Systems Strengthening Working Group (SSWG)

SSWG meets in Copenhagen: Earlier this month, members of the SSWG gathered in Copenhagen for their two-day semiannual meeting. While there, they discussed the work of the Countries at Risk (CAR) Group and received updates on AccessRH, the Pledge Guarantee for Health, and the new WAHO-administered financing and systems strengthening intiative. The group also discussed Innovation Fund projects and potential new workstreams. Members were also given a presentation on the updated Procurement Capacity Toolkit. Minutes of this meeting are currently being finalized and will soon be available in the SSWG meeting archives. For more information, contact David Smith or Steve Kinzett.

RHInterchange goes spatial: A new map feature has been added to the RHI website, allowing users to illustrate geographically the dollar value of contraceptives shipped to one or more countries. The map feature can be accessed by running the "Geographic Summary" report and then clicking on the "Show Map" link that appears at the top of the report. The map is in beta.  Please send suggestions for improvement to JSI using the site's "Contact Us" link. 

New workstream unveiled at Zaragoza: Kevin Pilz used the recent MIT Zaragoza Second Global Health Supply Chain Conference to unveil the new SSWG workstream, Professional Development of Supply Chain Managers. In his poster presentation, Kevin highlighted the four workstream objectives, which are to 1) raise awareness of the strategic importance (and technical complexity) of strong supply chain performance; 2) ensure recruitment and retention of technically qualified management staff; 3) harmonize and rationalize relevant professional competencies; and 4) ensure managers’ access to training, knowledge, tools, people, and information.  Kevin also distributed copies of a recently published White Paper, which outlines in greater detail the contents and objectives of the new workstream.  Kevin had fruitful discussions with UNICEF, WHO, NGOs, and university professors on convening a stakeholder alignment meeting to address the needs identified in the White Paper.

Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)

Brussels meeting: Members of the RMA WG will hold a face-to-face meeting to discuss workstream activities and upcoming strategic opportunities. The RMA WG will meet 10-11 February in Brussels, immediately following the Countdown 2015 Europe Steering Committee meeting. Items on the agenda include the MDG+10 review, the upcoming G8 meeting in Canada, and strengthening of the trans-Atlantic dialogue on the MDGs. Please contact Gloria Castany at the Secretariat for more information.

Improving cross-Working Group collaboration: Earlier this month, members of the RMA WG met via teleconference to discuss potential advocacy connections with both the Systems Strengthening and the Market Development Approaches Working Groups. Potential areas of mutual collaboration include AccessRH, the Pledge Guarantee for Health, the Countries at Risk Group, and the WHO Prequalification Programme. Due to inclement weather, participation on the call was limited, and further discussions are planned. For more information on the teleconference, contact Sabine Weber.

Ghana broadens contraceptive choice: The Government of Ghana’s recent decision to add eight additional contraceptive methods to the revised 2009 Essential Medicines List (EML), demonstrates their commitment to universal access to contraception and RH. Coalition member Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) and civil-society partners have been working together with the Ministry of Health and the National Drugs Programme to ensure women’s rights to contraceptive choice by increasing the range of contraceptives on the revised EML.

Prior to the release of the 2009 EML, women dependent on Ghana Health Service for contraceptives only had one method, the injectable, to choose from. Now, women can also access male and female condoms, IUDs, implants, oral contraceptives, and for the first time, emergency contraception.

Upcoming Events

6 Jan CAR Teleconference
7 Jan MDA WG Teleconference
6 - 8 Jan AHEAD Training (Advancing Healthy Advocacy for Reproductive Health) Burkina Faso, sponsored by DSW in cooperation with Equilibres & Population
27 Jan CAR Teleconference
4 Feb MDA Teleconference
10 - 11 Feb Countdown 2015 Europe Steering Committee meeting, Brussels
11 - 12 Feb RMA WG meeting, Brussels
24 Feb CAR Teleconference
24 - 26 Feb Regional meeting on RH Commodity Security in LAC, Panama
24 - 28 May Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition Annual Membership Meeting, Kampala, Uganda

For more details on the above and other events, see the events calendar on the Coalition website.

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