February 2012 in Review        
In the spotlight
Bayer HealthCare marks International Women’s Day with greater access for all

Today, thousands of women around the world gained access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARC). On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Bayer HealthCare announced another reduction in the price of its contraceptive implant Jadelle®―to US$18 per unit, down from the already-reduced price of $19 announced this past December. The reduction yields $3 million in savings on current and anticipated orders, and will provide new access to the method by an additional 167,000 women.


This exciting move reflects Bayer’s commitment to the HANDtoHAND goal of reaching 100 million additional users of modern contraception by 2015. Anticipating that up to 20 percent of these new users will demand LARC, Bayer has called upon donors, procurers, and manufacturers to work together in ensuring adequate supplies of up to 5 million implants per year. Bayer itself is committed to supplying 2–2.5 million of that amount—and to ensure that training is made available for local health workers to improve service delivery channels. These reductions in price and investments in service delivery will avert thousands of unwanted pregnancies and maternal and newborn deaths. It also demonstrates the power of partnership in reducing unmet need for family planning. We congratulate Bayer on taking this important step.

Coalition on the scene
Save the dates: Paris in the fall!
From 4–5 October 2012, the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs will host the Coalition’s 13th General Membership Meeting in Paris. As with previous meetings, Working Group, Forum, Caucus, and other side meetings are scheduled to take place earlier in the week. For the event, the Ministry will make available their magnificent meeting facilities, located in the former L’imprimerie Nationale. Please regularly check the Coalition’s website for dates, agendas, and the latest information as it becomes available.
LAPTOP course-finder tool launches on Coalition website
For the first time ever, supply chain managers who wish to polish their skills and advance their careers can use the Coalition’s website to find the training course that’s right for them. A new tool called LAPTOP (Learning and Professional Training Opportunities)—developed by John Snow, Inc. with funding from the Innovation Fund—serves as a go-to course finder for supply chain management trainings around the world. With courses on topics ranging from quantification to warehousing, essential medicines to transportation, LAPTOP builds on the ongoing efforts of the Coalition’s SSWG and the People that Deliver initiative to enhance the profile of supply chain managers as critical players in the effective delivery of health commodities. In addition to allowing users to search for relevant courses, the database also allows course providers to update and add information, helping to ensure the tool remains accurate. For questions and comments, contact Suzy Sacher at JSI.
Laying the foundation for family planning’s “Gold Moment”
In July, DFID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will host a high-level event in London aimed at catalyzing political and financial support for family planning. Earlier this month, international stakeholders from across the globe assembled at DFID’s London headquarters to start initial discussions on the event, define the communication needs surrounding it, and of course define the subsequent action that will need to follow. The Coalition was well represented at the event by its member organizations, Working Group leaders, and Secretariat staff. Following the event, the RMA WG sent to Coalition Chair Julia Bunting a letter of engagement, which outlined key advocacy and communication activities the group could take on in support of the effort. The Coalition will share further details of the event as they become available. For more information, please contact Lou Compernolle with the Secretariat.
Head of Family Health at Gates recognizes Coalition and partners
Earlier this month, Gary Darmstadt, Director of Family Health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, commended the Coalition’s role as a key partner in the Foundation’s family planning strategy. Darmstadt highlighted the Coalition’s work as a forum to generate new knowledge, build consensus, and identify technical solutions to delivering contraceptives to those most in need, while also singling out Coalition partners (and Innovation Fund recipients) PAI and Action Canada for Population and Development. The online posting came on the heels of Bill Gates Jr.’s annual letter, which also recognized RH supplies as an important component in the effort to improve health and reduce poverty. We thank the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for bringing continued attention to this critical issue.
People that Deliver holds inaugural board meeting

Earlier this month, the People that Deliver initiative held its inaugural board meeting in Lyon, France, to finalize the group’s terms of reference and mandate; of primary concern was also discussing strategic and operational priorities in supporting seven focus countries developing plans for better supply chain management. The People that Deliver board was formed in 2011 to raise awareness that strong supply chains are essential to improved health outcomes, and to support countries to build and retain qualified supply chain personnel in national health institutions. Coalition Director John Skibiak represented the Coalition as one of two multilateral organizations on the board, alongside representatives of bilateral donor agencies, academic institutions, ministries of health, NGOs, and the private sector. For more information, contact John Skibiak.

Secretariat turns praise into scholarships for supply-chain management
This month, the Coalition Secretariat was awarded a prestigious Vision Award—one of five accolades awarded each year by PATH for outstanding internal program performance. This award, in honor of Healthy Partnering, is given to programs or individuals who have excelled in establishing and sustaining successful partnerships with external collaborators. The Secretariat has chosen to use its prize money to support the newly launched LAPTOP course-finding database. It will establish a small scholarship fund for one or more developing-country students wishing to pursue a course in supply chain management. For more information, please contact Coalition Director John Skibiak.
Highlights from the Working Groups
Systems Strengthening Working Group (SSWG)

AccessRH team beginning new market research: The AccessRH team launched a new market research effort to get deeper insight into the types of clients that stand to benefit most from its services. Working Group members may receive a request for input from project research consultants, Junicon. We also invite readers to send any suggestions they have for specific clients to whom we should reach out. Please contact accessrh@unfpa.org.


Coordinated Assistance for Reproductive Health Supplies (CARhs): In February, the CARhs provided information and assistance to improve RH supply chain management in response to 16 requests from nine countries. Highlights include:

  • With logistics and regulatory support from the Ethiopia Ministry of Health, 500,000 cycles of Microlut were delivered to Pathfinder.
  • In Tanzania, shipments of female condoms have been placed on hold to avoid an overstock.
  • In Nigeria, close monitoring has ensured that all products previously detained at the port have been released.

Contact Joe Abraham for more information. 

Market Development Approaches Working Group (MDA WG)

Market Segmentation Primer now ready for utilization in LAC region: Following interest expressed in the MDA WG’s Total Market Initiative (TMI) during the LAC Forum annual meeting in Panama last July, members of the MDA WG felt it important to translate the group’s Market Segmentation Primer into Spanish. With financial support from the Coalition, the guide is now available for use by those seeking better coordination of family planning services across all market segments. The Market Segmentation Primer lays out the basics of a total market approach, from developing actionable profiles of family planning clients to the analysis and interpretation of data. Please click here to access the Spanish version of the guide. For more information, contact MDA WG Leader Ben Light at UNFPA.

Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)
Partnering with Global South CSOs in making the Access for All Call to Action a reality: In its ongoing effort to actively engage with and involve civil society organizations from the Global South in the Coalition’s work, the RMA WG is pleased to announce the launch of a new source of funding intended to increase such collaboration. Approximately US$275,000 will be set aside for civil-society organizations seeking funding from the Innovation Fund to implement recommendations from the Access for All Call to Action. In addition, given its ongoing engagement with CSOs in the Global South and its extensive experience in small grants management, PAI has been identified by the Coalition as a key partner ideally equipped to provide technical assistance and support to the CSOs as they formulate proposals. More information regarding a call for proposals will be shared in the near future. For more information, please contact Lou Compernolle.
Latin America/Caribbean Forum on Reproductive Health Commodity Security (LAC Forum)
Small grant mechanism launched for members of the LAC Forum: The executive committee of the LAC Forum has announced a call for proposals to be financed by UNFPA under a new small grants mechanism. The call for proposals is open to all organizations working in the region on issues related to RH supplies; interested applicants should ensure proposals are developed under the banner of a particular LAC Forum workstream and are approved by the working group’s coordinator. For more information on the criteria and/or required format of the proposals, please contact Gloria Castany within the Secretariat.
Francophone Forum (SECONAF)
Coalition’s Francophone forum surpasses 100 in membership: Thanks to active outreach efforts, SECONAF has nearly doubled in size since its inception last June. The group now has more than 100 members from across 50 organizations with a stake in the RH supplies security situation in West Africa. Regular news updates are shared on the forum’s principal communications platform, hosted on the Knowledge Gateway. Last month saw three workstreams take hold—one on the development of an early warning system, one focusing on supply chain management, and  one on advocacy. For more information or to become a member of SECONAF, please contact Gloria Castany or Lou Compernolle within the Secretariat.
Upcoming events

3 AprMDA WG teleconference
10 AprCaucus on New and Underused RH Technologies teleconference
10-11 AprJoint framework meeting of the Mesoamerican Initiative, Panama
16-18 AprReproductive Health Medicines Programme-Meeting on Hormonal Contraceptives and Essential Medicines, UNFPA, New York
July (TBD)High-level family planning event, London
4-5 OctCoalition Annual Membership Meeting, Paris

If you would like to be removed from this mailing list, please click here and type "unsubscribe" in the subject line.