February 2010 in Review
In the spotlight
Latin America launches new supply initiative
This month, more than 25 stakeholders from across Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) agreed to form a new regional initiative to ensure reproductive health commodity security (RHCS). The move came at the end of a three-day meeting held in Panama City, hosted by the UNFPA LAC Regional Office. The new initiative will form an integral part of the Coalition, receive full support from the Secretariat, and operate along the lines of the current Caucus on New and Underused RH Technologies: namely as a broad, multisectoral forum that crosscuts all three Working Groups (WGs). The forum will be represented on each of the WGs and, through its representatives, will contribute to the implementation of new and existing workstreams, including the development of Innovation Fund proposals.
A four-member Steering Committee has been established to give shape to the new initiative. Chaired by Hugo Gonzales, UNFPA Regional Technical Advisor on RHCS/Health Systems, the Committee has been tasked with developing a brief statement of purpose and a list of priority issues for immediate attention. For more information on the new initiative, contact Hugo Gonzalez or Gloria Castany.
Coalition on the scene
Help shape the Kampala agenda
The Secretariat has issued a call for member input into the development of the agenda for this year’s membership meeting in Kampala. Member input is a key part of the agenda-formation process and this meeting – the first to be held outside Europe or North America – is no exception. Please think about what your organization would most like to see on the agenda, what you would like to learn from other members, and what you hope to take away from the meeting. Are there guests that would make for interesting panel discussions? Are there subjects on which you or your organization would like to present? Are there displays or posters you would like to showcase? All thoughts and ideas are welcome. Please send your ideas and suggestions to Steve Kinzett at the Secretariat. More information on the 2010 Membership Meeting can be found here.
Book your rooms now
Book early to ensure you get your room of choice at the Kampala meeting. After 15 April, the participating hotels – Sheraton and Imperial Royale – will release 25 percent of unsold rooms. After 29 April, all remaining unsold rooms will be released. From that point on, rooms will be subject to availability and will be priced at full commercial rates. Book your rooms through the Coalition’s website by clicking here. For further information, contact Francis Fix at the Secretariat.
SupplyInsider now available in Spanish
Coinciding with the establishment of the new Latin American initiative on commodity security is the launch of a new Spanish-language version of the Coalition newsletter, SupplyInsider. The publication comes at the request of a Spanish-speaking advisory group, established in 2009 to help guide the Secretariat in reaching out more effectively to partners at country and regional levels. Those wishing to join the mailing list for the Spanish-language newsletter may do so by contacting the Secretariat’s Regional Coordinator, Gloria Castany.
PAI shares early findings on maternal health supplies
Population Action International (PAI) has concluded initial research in Bangladesh for its maternal health (MH) supplies research project supported by the Maternal Health Task Force. The researchers met with 21 organizations and six public and private facilities with the aim of determining why oxytocin, magnesium sulfate, misoprostol, and manual vacuum aspirators are often unavailable to those that need them. Their findings point to inadequate donor funding for MH supplies; the need to pay out of pocket for essential medicines; poorly coordinated systems for forecasting, delivering, and tracking of maternal health supplies; and interrelated weaknesses in human resources and health systems. Additional research is now underway in Uganda. For more information, please contact Jennifer Bergeson-Lockwood or Elizabeth Leahy Madsen.
Coalition’s newest members
The Coalition welcomed two new members in February, bringing our total membership to 105.
RHInterchange offers training to new and existing users
This month, the RHInterchange (RHI) held two half-day training sessions on the use of RHI data and tools. Held at the offices of JSI, 18 participants worked with the data, generated reports, and discussed instances where RHI data had been (or could be) used to support contraceptive security efforts, including advocacy. Participants discussed how they could incorporate the RHI into their work as program managers and technical assistance providers, as well as how it could enhance their efforts at resource mobilization, donor coordination, budgeting, shipment monitoring, and supplies and financial planning. RHI plans to repeat the sessions at both their Boston and Washington, DC (Arlington, Virginia) offices. For more information, please contact Joy Kamunyori.
Highlights from the Working Groups
Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)
RMA WG meets in Brussels: Earlier this month, the RMA Working Group met in Brussels. Over a period of two days, the 20 participants revised their workstreams and identified the lead personnel for each. Updated workstream descriptions will be available on the Coalition website shortly. Key action points included the following:
Learning from success in Tanzania and Ghana: Support from Project RMA has allowed IPPF Member Associations in Tanzania and Ghana to advocate for increased political and financial support for RH supplies. But both of these associations have very different stories to tell. This month, IPPF published fact charts on the efforts undertaken to prioritize RH supplies in each of these countries. A voice united looks at advocacy efforts in Tanzania, while Partnerships for choice portrays work undertaken in Ghana. For more information, contact Sarah Shaw.
Market Development Approaches Working Group (MDA WG)
Due to scheduling conflicts, the monthly MDA WG teleconference for April has been moved forward to Tuesday, 30 March.
For more details on the above and other events, see the events calendar on the Coalition website.