February 2008 in Review
In the spotlight
Coalition contributions exceed $US 1 million!

The Coalition’s third strategic goal aims to support the global architecture needed to address the supplies challenge. This means forging partnerships and building commitment, but also ensuring that the Coalition’s role within the global architecture remains relevant, sustainable, and worthy of stakeholder support. In 2007, the role of the Coalition was wholeheartedly re-affirmed by major financial commitments to our work and by a dramatic expansion in our membership.

Last year, stakeholder contributions to the Coalition rose to more than $US 1.3 million–an amount almost equivalent to the annual allocation under the Secretariat's grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. These new funds supported the development of tools and research, the implementation of key Coalition activities, and the enabling of key Secretariat functions such as representation. But this financial support was also matched by the dramatic institutional buy-in of the reproductive health (RH) community as a whole. In the three-month period following the decision to open membership, more than 35 new institutions joined the Coalition as full members. In doing so, they committed themselves to furthering the Coalition’s goals and objectives, engaging in Coalition initiatives, and, potentially, providing the means needed to ensure the partnership’s long-term sustainability. Contact the Secretariat for more information.
Coalition on the scene
Launch of Global Fund Round 8 RH/HIV Integration Initiative

The first goal of the Coalition's Strategic Plan aims to increase resource flows for RH supplies. This includes resources from traditional multi- and bi-lateral donor agencies, as well as a host of other non-traditional RH funding partnerships such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a Coalition member.

This month, Coalition members IPPF, PAI, and Interact Worldwide, along with the Global AIDS Alliance and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, launched a new initiative to better integrate RH and HIV/AIDS in proposals for submission to the Global Fund’s Round 8 grant cycle. Round 8 is scheduled to begin on March 3.

Steve Kinzett represented the Secretariat at the initiative’s launch meeting, which was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from February 26–29. The meeting brought together civil society representatives from 10 focus countries in an effort to assist them to develop their Round 8 proposals. The countries included Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Ghana, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Zambia. Contact Suzanne Ehlers, Vice President, International Advocacy, PAI, for more information.

Coalition reaches 50 members!

Four new members joined the Coalition in February, bringing the total number of members to 50. The new members are:

  • Famy Care: Incorporated in India in 1987, Famy Care is a major manufacturer of RH supplies and an approved supplier of PAHO and Crown Agents. It also supplies to UNFPA, the World Bank, DKT, and ministries of health worldwide.
  • Helm Pharmaceuticals GmbH: Part of the world's largest privately owned chemicals marketing and distribution company (with a turnover of US €7 billion), Helm Pharmaceuticals GmbH focuses on generic drugs and medical equipment. It is the largest trading company for the generic Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (DMPA) injectable contraceptive.
  • Sima: Formed in 1994, Sima is registered with the Government of Kenya to lobby for better and more sustainable community development programmes.
  • USAID | DELIVER PROJECT: Implemented by JSI, the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT works with national and international partners to increase the availability of essential health supplies, including contraceptives and condoms, to clients and customers around the world. The project focuses on supply chain management, commodity security, and procurement services.

To apply for membership in the Coalition, click here.

Topics sought for May membership meeting

The Secretariat has begun the process of identifying key issues to be addressed at the Coalition's upcoming membership meeting, which will be hosted by the European Commission in Brussels on May 22-23, 2008. Coalition members are cordially invited to forward to the Secretariat any topics they would like to see addressed during the two-day event. Please send comments to the Secretariat by April 4.

Gedeon Richter welcomes the Coalition

This month, Coalition Director John Skibiak visited the offices of Gedeon Richter, a pioneer in the development of hormonal contraception and currently the world’s leading manufacturer of emergency contraception pills. The Budapest-based firm is the most recent pharmaceutical manufacturer to express an interest in joining the Coalition.

During the visit, which included tours of their production, packing, and dispatch facilities, Richter representatives echoed many concerns frequently raised by Coalition members. They spoke of the need to focus on the total market, and the negative consequences that can arise when free public-sector supplies seep into the commercial market. They also highlighted the importance of good supply chain management–not just for the end user, but also so that country programmes can engage more effectively with industry in a timely and cost-efficient manner. Finally, they praised efforts to ensure unified standards of quality, safety, and efficacy. Poor quality, they said, harms us all. Apart from the obvious individual health risks, it can undermine confidence in the method, and ultimately all those who produce it.

PATH holds regional workshops on WHO Prequalification Programme

This month PATH, in partnership with WHO and UNFPA, concluded a series of workshops to address WHO Prequalification Programme requirements for supplying essential RH medicines. With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the initiative aims to expedite progress toward contraceptive and RH supply security in low- and middle-income countries by expanding the participation of manufacturers in the programme.

The regional workshops focused on two priority areas: prequalification within public-sector procurement and prequalification of condom manufacturers. The procurement workshops addressed the benefits of prequalification and how to effectively recommend or access the programme. The condom manufacturer workshops introduced and solicited input on the new prequalification programme for male latex condoms with the aim of increasing participation of manufacturers. The workshop series ended in February 2008 with a condom workshop in New Delhi, India. Workshops were also held in Nicaragua, China, and Thailand in January, and a West African workshop took place in Senegal in December.

The sponsors will also convene a half-day workshop for large-scale procurers and donors on May 21 in conjunction with the Coalition’s May membership meeting. For more information about the workshop series, contact PATH Senior Programme Officer Janet Vail.

European journalists visit Tanzania

As part of the Countdown 2015 Europe project, Coalition member DSW accompanied European journalists from February 16-23 to various locations within Tanzania to give them a first-hand appreciation of the gaps between the availability and demand for supplies. The journalists visited the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT and the PSI warehouse in Dar es Salaam.

Countdown 2015 Europe campaigns for universal access to and increased donor support for RH supplies. For more details, click here or contact Maike Schliebs, Advocacy Officer at DSW.

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

Countries at Risk (CAR): This month, El Salvador, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe were featured on the agenda of the CAR. As a result of the meeting, UNFPA and USAID sent shipments to Kenya, and Crown Agents resolved the stock shortages in Zimbabwe. Other shipments prevented stockouts in Ghana and Mozambique.

Crown Agents is now a full member of the CAR, along with USAID, UNFPA, KfW, the World Bank, and IPPF. Both RHInterchange (RHI) and the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT also attend as providers of essential data.

RHI: RHI management has chosen UNFPA to be the next operator of the RHI. As of 2009, UNFPA will lead the management of the RHI website, with ongoing direction and guidance from the SSWG. In February, UNFPA and JSI undertook a joint mission to Burkina Faso, an RHI focus country, to introduce the website and gather feedback for improvements. The team, Mimi Whitehouse of JSI and Ingegerd Nordin of UNFPA's Procurement Services Branch, met with the Ministry of Health, donor partners, and non-governmental agencies. This joint mission looked at the types of changes required of the website, and anticipated support needs.

As a result of the mission, Burkina Faso's central procurement agency, La Centrale d’Achat des Médicaments Essentiels Génériques (CAMEG), and KfW-funded social marketing project, Projet de Marketing Social des Condoms (PROMACO), will share their contraceptive purchasing information with the RHI.

Contact SSWG Head, Alan Bornbusch, for more information on the SSWG.

Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)

The national-level activities of Project RMA have recently focused on building national networks and secretariats to advocate for increased financial and political commitment to RH supplies. These will be based in six IPPF Member Associations in Bangladesh, Ghana, Mexico, Nicaragua, Tanzania, and Uganda.

IPPF plans to use the Country Global Pathways advocacy model as a means to further the Project RMA campaign. This involves creating national networks, researching and mapping relevant policy and budget processes, developing evidence-based messages, and recruiting champions to communicate messages and garner high-level support. Tanzania and Mexico have been working with this model of advocacy for some time. In February, a meeting was held with the Tanzanian Member Association UMATI to develop a plan for integrating Project RMA with their existing strategy.

Meanwhile, IPPF is coordinating with its regional offices to arrange visits to the other countries to develop work plans and identify advocacy opportunities on supplies. For more information on these national-level activities, contact RMA Officer Sarah Shaw at IPPF, or view the Project RMA page on the Coalition website and IPPF's website.

Upcoming Events
10-17 March PSP-One Online Social Marketing Conference (see http://www.psp-one.com/)
12 MarchCountries at Risk (CAR) group meeting
21-23 MayCoalition Membership and Executive Committee Meetings; Brussels, Belgium
18-20 June Reproductive Health in Emergencies Conference 2008; Kampala, Uganda (see www.raiseinitiative.org/conference/#welcome for more details)