December 2010 in Review
In the spotlight
Coalition called upon to bridge actors from within the female condom community
This month, UNFPA, WHO, and FHI hosted a three-day workshop on the use and application of the WHO/UNFPA Prequalification Scheme for Female Condoms. Held in Bangkok, the workshop was attended by more than 30 participants, including representatives from Coalition members Crown Agents, Enersol, the Indian Council of Medical Research, PATH, Valendor, PSI, as well as the Coalition Secretariat.
At the conclusion of the event, participants agreed on the need for improved collaboration and greater engagement by both technical specialists and advocates. To facilitate that process, the Market Development Approaches Working Group (MDA WG) agreed to provide a forum to bring together different players from across the female condom community. Though the Coalition has historically shied away from focusing on single technologies, strengthening the market development of new and underused methods is an objective inscribed within the MDA WG’s annual workplan. Together with the Caucus on New and Underused RH Technologies, the MDA WG hopes to work with the key partners in the female condom community in providing support for the development of a business plan to expand the availability of female condoms. Participants also called upon the Coalition—particularly its civil society members—to assist in advocacy efforts for the female condom. For more information on this effort, please contact Ben Light, Leader of the MDA WG.
Coalition on the scene
Asia Pacific experts focus on supplies
More than 150 experts from across Asia and the Pacific expressed their determination “...to raise and sustain adequate financial resources for ensuring universal access to reproductive health commodities.” This was one of several key messages to emerge from the regional consultation Family Planning in Asia and the Pacific—Addressing the Challenges, organized in Bangkok by UNFPA and the International Council for the Management of Population Programmes (ICOMP).
During a panel discussion moderated by Jagdish Upadhyay of UNFPA, Coalition Director John Skibiak discussed the evolution of the commodity security movement and the more recent contribution to that effort by the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition and the HANDtoHAND Campaign. Also included in the panel discussion were presentations on commodity security in Laos and Bangladesh and an overview on local production of contraceptives in China. For more information on the consultation or copies of presentations, please contact John Skibiak.
Coalition moves to safeguard sustainability of Innovation Fund
This month marks the second anniversary of the launch of the Coalition’s Innovation Fund. Since the first call for proposals was issued in December 2008, the Fund has played a significant role in the work of the Coalition’s Working Groups. To ensure the Innovation Fund continues to be of maximum benefit, the Executive Committee has charged the Secretariat with the task of reviewing its impact, identifying new opportunities for change, and safeguarding the Fund’s long-term sustainability. In January, the Secretariat will begin reaching out to Coalition members—through interviews and an online survey—for their advice on how best to align the Fund with both the Coalition’s strategic goals and with members’ needs and circumstances. We look forward to hearing your views. For more information, contact Lou Compernolle at the Secretariat.
Effective advocacy yields results in Uganda
Uganda’s NGO community is today breathing a little easier after initial warnings—first raised at this year's Coalition membership meeting—that proposed changes in government policy would prohibit them from accessing RH supplies from the National Medical Stores. Over the past six months, media tours sponsored by Coalition member Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU) were able to successfully raise awareness of stock-outs and their impact on women’s health. The RH Supplies Advocacy Network, along with the Advance Family Planning project, utilized the momentum generated by the media tours to call upon the government to do more than just allow NGOs to secure commodities through the district(s) where they operated. Thanks to a series of national meetings, RHU, Marie Stopes Uganda, Pace, and Pathfinder are all now authorized to access commodities directly from the National Medical Stores.
Countdown 2015 moving sexual and reproductive health advocacy forward
IPPF Europe has been awarded US $7.3 million by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to maintain and increase European financial and political commitment to universal access to reproductive health, with a particular focus on better positioning resources to address the unmet need for family planning services and reproductive health supplies. The Protecting and Increasing European Donor Commitment to Universal Access to Reproductive Health and Family Planning project will be implemented by Coalition member Countdown 2015 Europe, a consortium of leading European advocacy NGOs in sexual and reproductive health and rights. For more information, please contact An Huybrechts.
Coalition welcomes its newest members
This month the Coalition welcomes one new member, bringing total membership to 129.
Highlights from the Working Groups
Systems Strengthening Working Group (SSWG)
The AccessRH team has announced the appointment of Campbell Bright as the AccessRH Manager at UNFPA. Ms. Bright brings more than 25 years of professional experience in the private and public sectors to her new position, including roles spanning the range of supply chain functions, from forecasting to production, warehousing, transportation, and customer service. Campbell is in her fifth year at UNFPA, and having already proved to be an instrumental member of the AccessRH team, she looks forward to contributing to the initiative as its Manager.
The first order for condom stock has been initiated with Qingdao for 250,000 condoms (gross). Approximately 165,000 gross will be available at the Qingdao plant in February, so AccessRH is on track to accept its first orders from clients at that time.
AccessRH IT staff participated in meetings at UNFPA headquarters in New York to gain a better understanding of the technical environment, finalize steps for RHInterchange (RHI) transition, and prepare for AccessRH website development. In addition, JSI colleague Joy Kamunyori spent a week at UNFPA Copenhagen to conduct training on maintenance and utilization of the RHI in advance of UNFPA launch of the RHI website to its servers.
Latin America/Caribbean Forum on Reproductive Health Commodity Security (LAC Forum)
The LAC Forum’s Steering Committee members have finalized the group’s Terms of Reference (TOR). The new TOR stipulates the principles under which for the LAC Forum’s task-forces will work together and link with the Coalition’s three Working Groups. It also sets forth the region’s RH commodity security challenges, outlines the Forum’s annual work plan, and spells out the functioning and organization of the Steering Committee.
The objectives of the LAC Forum include building government and donor commitment and strengthening systems and logistics capabilities to develop sustainable mechanisms for RHCS. Strategies to be developed under the Forum include data collection, advocacy, strategic partnerships, and monitoring and evaluation tools, among others.
The TORs have been circulated to members of the LAC Forum for feedback. Please contact Gloria Castany of the Secretariat for more information.
For more details on the above and other events, see the events calendar on the Coalition website.