January 2008 in Review
In the spotlight
New Coalition web site goes live

The Coalition now has an attractive, user-friendly web site at http://www.rhsupplies.org that emphasizes our added-value, allows readers to see immediately who we are and what we do, and provides a convenient interface for them to engage with us. Developed under the supervision of the Coalition’s Communications Officer, Catherine Potter, the new web site is the product of generous technical and financial assistance from many partners. These include Senior Communications Coordinator Caroline Jane Kent (DSW), Project RMA, the web design firm Active Elements, the Coalition's Communications Task Force, and innumerable Coalition members from around the world.

As readers will quickly see, the new web site opens up supply security to a broader audience. Quick links and an eye-catching banner lead readers to the Reproductive Health Interchange (RHInterchange), the Countries at Risk (CAR) group, and the advocacy toolkit. In addition, it enables them to register for membership online and access the latest news and events.

The Secretariat has also refreshed the look of this newsletter to bring it in line with the web site's key graphic elements. Renamed "SupplyInsider", the newsletter will maintain its focus on ensuring a strategic sharing of knowledge among Coalition members. Contact Coalition Communications Officer, Catherine Potter, for any information about the new web site or SupplyInsider newsletter.

Coalition on the scene
Coalition welcome six new members

Six new members joined the Coalition in January, bringing the total number of members to 46. This follows the admission of 28 new members in November and December. The new members who joined in January are:

  • Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA): founded in 1975, CEDPA is a non-profit organization that works with women leaders, local partners, and national and international organizations to give women the tools they need to improve their lives, families and communities
  • EngenderHealth: now celebrating its 65th anniversary, EngenderHealth's core business is ensuring informed choice and increasing access especially for long acting and permanent family planning methods
  • Interact Worldwide: works to influence UK leadership to support national plans for universal access to RH services by 2015, as well as across Europe to improve policy and increase funding for global health particularly in maternal health and RH supplies
  • Population Action International (PAI): works to strengthen political and financial support worldwide for population programmes grounded in individual rights
  • Seraphim Life Sciences Consulting LLC: provides regulatory, manufacturing, operations, and technical consulting and support for the development and sourcing of reproductive and women's health products
  • United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS): part of the United Nations (UN) system, UNOPS provides customized procurement and contracting services to UN organizations, international financing institutions, governments, and other clients

To become a member of the Coalition, click here and contact the Secretariat for more information.

Monitoring plan completed

The Secretariat has completed a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) plan for Coalition activities. Leading with 14 key indicators, the M&E plan necessarily involves key stakeholders in recording and collection of data to monitor progress towards the Coalitions goals.

Comprising a total of nearly 60 indicators altogether–split into type “A”, “B” and “C” depending on how critical they are to record–partners such as USAID | DELIVER, USAID | PSP-One, PAI, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and others will be instrumental in providing some of the key data. Some baseline data and eventual targets for 2009 and 2015 are yet to be fully agreed on but the plan is now with key consultative groups for recommendation. Contact Steve Kinzett of the Secretariat for more information.

Communications Task Force gives final input to strategy

Members of the Communications Task Force met on January 23 to put the finishing touches on the Coalition's communications strategy. Caroline Jane Kent of DSW and Mimi Whitehouse of the RHInterchange met with Secretariat staff to fine-tune the communications-related goals and activities that the Secretariat will carry out this year.

Once completed, the draft of the strategy will be forwarded to the Executive Committee and then added to the web site. Membership of the Communications Task Force will be expanded to include new members who have just joined the Coalition. This group will meet on a regular basis to give input to relevant activities. Contact Catherine Potter of the Secretariat for more details.

Seeking French support for supplies

Despite France's influential role in many large international health partnerships, the French government has thus far remained largely on the sidelines with respect to the issue of reproductive health (RH) supply security. That may soon change as a result of advocacy efforts by Paris-based, Equilibres & Populations (E&P)-a long-time partner of the Coalition and member of the recently launched Countdown 2015 Europe.

This month, E&P invited Coalition Director John Skibiak to discuss supply security and the Coalition at the monthly meeting of its Scientific Committee. The Committee includes senior scientists as well as representatives of Parliament, government, industry, and the press. In his keynote presentation, Skibiak called upon France to join other European initiatives to strengthen RH commodity security, through multilateral and regional cooperation, and through leveraging the support of international health partnerships. He also called for greater mainstreaming of supply security in the formulation and evaluation of international development assistance. For more information, contact Serge Rabier, Executive Director of E&P.

Visitors beat a path to the Secretariat

Despite its usual slow start, January proved to be a busy month for visitors to the Secretariat. On January 11, Consultant Bo Stenson met with Mimi Whitehouse (RHInterchange) and David Smith (UNFPA Copenhagen) to pursue his ongoing review of the Coalition’s financial sustainability, and to present the findings of a survey of sustainability strategies of other health partnerships. His visit also allowed him to review with Coalition Director John Skibiak the next phase of his consultancy, which will involve in-depth, one-on-one discussions with key Coalition partners.

January also saw visits from members of Countdown 2015 Europe. On the eve of their Steering Committee meeting, Countdown 2015 Europe Project Coordinator, An Huybrechts, and IPPF European Network's Director of Programme and Advocacy, Liz Bennour, met with Secretariat staff to discuss their work and to identify opportunities for greater collaboration with the Coalition. Felicity Daly and Amy Whalley of InterAct Worldwide also briefed the Secretariat on upcoming advocacy efforts in the UK and the work of several international health partnerships likely to be discussed at the Coalition’s next membership meeting. Apart from long-time partner DSW, InterAct Worldwide is the first member of Countdown 2015 Europe to join the Coalition under its new membership policy.

As part of the Coalition's growing collaboration with Countdown 2015 Europe, Mimi Whitehouse demonstrated during the Steering Committee meeting how the RHInterchange can be used to support messaging efforts designed to increase funds for RH and RH supplies.

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

As part of the RHInterchange project's midterm review, an outside evaluator completed its interviews with headquarters-based RHInterchange stakeholders in December and January. The project team expects to use insights gained through this review to inform future activities and to promote the RHInterchange as a tool in evidence-based decision-making for management of inbound supplies. Interviews with RHInterchange stakeholders at the country level will take place later in 2008. For more information, contact Mimi Whitehouse.

On January 28, a one-day meeting was held at UNFPA New York to review the proposed methodology for the review of software tools. Participants in the meeting included the consultants conducting the review, UNFPA regional advisers, and experts from UNFPA New York, USAID, John Snow Inc., and Management Sciences for Health. A framework for classifying and assessing the software was reviewed in detail, as were the tools for gathering inputs from software developers and users. Next steps will be to finalize the framework, interview product developers and users, and continue "road testing" the software. Contact SSWG Head, Alan Bornbusch, for more information.

Market Development Working Group (MDA WG)

Of the 28 new members that have signed up to the Coalition since November, no fewer than 20 have expressed an interest in the work of the MDA WG. The WG will be contacting these potential new members during the next few weeks. Current members have also been asked to prepare succinct narratives of the workstreams they are involved in for the new web site and alert new members to the context of the workstreams.

The final report of the October manufacturers and private-sector forum will be posted in February on a specially-designed page on the new web site. For more details, contact MDA WG Head, Ben Light.

Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)
Project RMA is launching SupplyNews, a monthly e-digest focusing on activities and news related to advocacy and awareness-raising at the global, regional and country level. Click here to read more about SupplyNews. Contact Caroline Jane Kent of DSW for more on the e-digest.
Upcoming Events

6 February Countries at Risk teleconference; 16.00 CET; 15.00 GMT; 10.00 EST
19-21 February WHO Prequalification Programme for Condoms Workshop; New Delhi, India
21 February
MDA WG teleconference; 17.00 CET; 16.00 GMT; 11.00 EST; 08.00 PST
22-23 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)