February 2011 in Review        
In the spotlight
Ethiopia joins the Coalition with a view towards better pricing for commodities

On 2 February, Ethiopia’s Federal Ministry of Health became the tenth national government and third African country to join the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition. In a signing ceremony held in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, State Minister Kebede Worku said the Ministry looked forward to co-hosting this year’s annual meeting of Coalition partners and expressed his hopes that membership in the Coalition would open the door toward meaningful price negotiations between manufacturers and procurers, which he felt were a prerequisite to sustainable RH programmes. Coverage of the ceremony, which was attended by representatives of the Coalition, UNFPA, and the Ministry, found its way onto television and the front page of the national newspaper, the Ethiopian Herald.


Update on June meetings

In preparation for the June meetings, the Secretariat has launched a new web page where participants can access the latest information, register for the event, and book hotel rooms. Please note the following:

  • Registration: Anyone wishing to attend the meeting must pre-register via the Coalition website. For security reasons, anyone failing to register will not be permitted to enter the UN Economic Commission for Africa premises, where the meetings will be held.  
  • Hotels: The meeting registration page allows participants to book rooms at one of two hotels offering special discounted rates. The two hotels, Hilton Addis Ababa and Intercontinental Hotel Addis, are within walking distance of the UN conference centre. Availability of rooms is limited, so participants are encouraged to book as early as possible. 

Mon. 20


Tues. 21


Wed. 22


Thurs. 23


Fri. 24

PAI country meeting

Caucus on New and Underused RH Technologies

Latin America/Caribbean Forum 


SSWG meeting


RMA meeting


MDA meeting 


High-level meeting




High-level meeting 


Coalition membership meeting



For the most up-to-date information on every aspect of the week’s events, please consult the meeting web page, now available through the Coalition’s website. For further information regarding meeting logistics, contact Francis Fix at the Secretariat.

Coalition on the scene
Pledge Guarantee officially launches its first deal

This month, the UN Foundation announced the first deal under the Pledge Guarantee for Health (PGH), an innovative financing mechanism that allows recipients of international donor assistance to turn unrealized aid commitments into short-term, low-cost commercial credit. The deal, which was formally concluded in November of last year, enabled the Zambian government to secure $4.8 million, which it then used to purchase bed nets before the peak rainy season. This deal—which also involved the World Bank, UNICEF, and Stanbic Bank Zambia—is estimated to have averted up to 100,000 cases of malaria and to have saved about $250,000 in treatment costs and lost productivity.


In connection with the announcement, the UN Foundation hosted a panel discussion in Washington, DC, where leaders from across the global health community discussed opportunities for innovative, private-sector-led partnerships to address today’s challenging funding landscape. To read a press release on the panel discussion, click here. More on the PGH can be found here.

AccessRH fulfils its first order

The innovative procurement mechanism, AccessRH, also announced its first order this month: a shipment of 1.44 million condoms to Mongolia. The order, which is scheduled to arrive in Ulaanbaatar in early March, represents a dramatic time savings over the usual three-month timeframe normally required for production and testing. 


Developed under the auspices of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition, AccessRH is an innovative procurement mechanism that allows clients to order high-quality products at favourable prices with significantly reduced lead times. The Procurement Services Branch of UNFPA, which oversees the programme, manages an inventory of standard RH products (currently limited to condoms, but soon expected to grow), which it ships either from stock held on its behalf by prequalified suppliers or directly from a supplier’s production line. To learn more about AccessRH, contact Karina Donnelly.

Commodity security highlighted as Francophone West Africa renews commitment to family planning

From 811 February, nine country delegations from across francophone West Africa convened in Ouagadougou where they committed themselves to addressing the issues of population, development, and family planning. Hosted by USAID, the French Government, and the Hewlett and Packard Foundations, the three-day event encompassed a broad range of population related issuesincluding RH commodity security. A panel on the subject of commodity security was moderated by Coalition Director, John Skibiak, and included presentations by Coalition members Dr. Meba Kagone (USAID|DELIVER), Dr. Andre Savadogo (Bioforce), and M. Felicien Nezzi (WAHO). The event concluded with an eight-point declaration that included a call for governments to increase contributions to RH supplies steadily over time. The Secretariat, together with partners Equilibres & Populations and Bioforce, has begun efforts to forge a new regional network on commodity security, similar to the LAC Forum. For more information on the conference, contact John Skibiak.

Maternal health supplies advocacy

The Maternal Health Task Force continues to build upon its commitment to increase access to MH supplies and has renewed support to Population Action International to continue generating advocacy and action on this critical issue through August 2011. In the coming months, stakeholders will develop key recommendations to help ensure adequate access to MH supplies and formulate strategies to ensure their implementation. The recommendations will identify advocacy opportunities for securing policy change, and increasing political and financial support for improving maternal health and reducing maternal mortality. These draft recommendations will be shared at the upcoming June 2011 membership meeting in Addis Ababa. If you are interested in becoming involved in this effort, please contact Jessica Bernstein.

Coalition welcomes its newest members

In addition to Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health, the Coalition welcomed two new members this month, bringing its total membership to 132:

  • Venture Strategies Innovations (VSI): VSI is a nonprofit organization committed to improving women's health in developing countries by creating access to effective and affordable technologies on a large scale.
  • Asociacion Pro Bienestar de la Familia de Guatemala (APROFAM): APROFAM, the Guatemala Member Association of IPPF, is a private non-profit organization. Since 1964, APROFAM has provided quality RH products and services, with an emphasis on the sexual and reproductive health of the most vulnerable.
Highlights from the Working Groups
Systems Strengthening Working Group (SSWG)

Coordinated Assistance for Reproductive Health Supplies (CARhs): This month, the CARhs provided upcoming shipment information in response to seven requests from four countries. The CARhs took the following actions:

  • USAID sent new shipments of Depo-Provera and branded male condoms to the EXP social marketing programme in Ghana.
  • USAID has expedited shipments of Microlut to Mali and DepoProvera to both Mali and Senegal. 
  • The CARhs is working with international partners to mitigate an overstock of Jadelle in Rwanda. The Rwanda Ministry of Health currently holds 79 months of stock and is working with USAID and UNFPA to donate some of that to one or more  countries in need.

Contact Kevin Pilz for more information. 

Market Development Approaches Working Group (MDA WG)

Total Market Initiative meeting: A sub-group of MDA WG members met via teleconference on 1 February to brainstorm ideas for moving forward the Total Market Initiative (TMI). Focusing on the access and equity components of a TMI, members explored opportunities for carrying forward work in Honduras and Madagascar, including the possibility of producing a short guide for implementing a TMI. For more information on this sub-group, please contact Ben Light or Steve Kinzett.


Upcoming Events
2-16 March Online discussion forum on Emergency Contraception, sign up
8 March RMA WG Teleconference
10 March MDA WG/LAC Forum Teleconference
10 March MDA WG Teleconference
7 April MDA WG Teleconference
12 April Caucus Teleconference
19 April RMA WG Teleconference
28-29 April Maternal health supplies working group meeting, Washington, DC
20-24 June Coalition membership meeting, Addis Ababa
28-29 June People that Deliver conference, Geneva


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

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