July 2009 in Review
In the spotlight
The human and economic impact of stock-outs
Earlier this month the Family Planning Association of Bangladesh (FPAB) and the Human Development Research Centre hosted a dissemination seminar for the study Human and Economic Impact of Reproductive Health Supplies Shortages and Stock-outs in Bangladesh. This pioneering research, supported by Project RMA, is the first study to quantify the cost of stock-outs in economic terms at country level. The study estimates that due to stock-outs between March 2008 and February 2009, an extra 47,000 children were born. The findings also suggest that US$876 million was lost in economic productivity as a result of the shortages of pills, condoms, and injectables.
The dissemination seminar was attended by approximately 200 guests including representatives of government, multilateral and bilateral donors, civil society, and the media. The Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Hon. AFM Ruhal Haque, was the keynote speaker. He spoke of government commitment to ‘resolve problems relating to supply, procurement, and the distribution of commodities to the right people at the right time.’ The Secretariat’s Steve Kinzett represented the Coalition as a special guest of the FPAB.
The study provides a solid evidence base for supporting efforts to address commodity security and offers a path forward for greater collaboration between the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and civil society partners. Study recommendations are currently being finalized and will be posted on the Coalition’s website once available. A number of news articles covering the dissemination seminar are available here. For more information, contact Sarah Shaw or Steve Kinzett.
Coalition on the scene
Online evaluation of membership meeting: preliminary results
Almost a third of participants from this year’s annual Membership Meeting responded to the evaluation survey, which was posted online. Their comments, which will feed into the planning for next year's meeting, suggested satisfaction with the degree to which respondents were able to contribute to or shape the meeting's agenda. The comments also revealed nearly universal use of the Coalition’s website to access meeting details—an encouraging finding given ongoing efforts to establish the website as a convenient one-stop shop for news on both RH supplies and the Coalition. Of special note was the request for more information next year (and in the interim) from the Caucus on New and Underused RH Technologies. Regarding potential venues for next year's meeting, Africa was singled out by the largest number of respondents. A full report on the meeting's proceedings and outcomes will be posted on the Coalition website in the coming weeks.
Now online: The Caucus for New and Underused RH Technologies
In response to member requests for more information on the Caucus on New and Underused RH Technologies, a Caucus page has been launched on the Coalition’s website. The Caucus was established to broaden the discussion within the Coalition of RH technologies that meet users' needs, but are not well integrated into the public or commercial sectors. It is a community of practice whose work and membership cuts across all three of the Coalition's Working Groups. The Caucus recently completed the development of peer-reviewed technical briefs on selected RH technologies, which can be viewed on the website of Coalition member, PATH. Please visit the Caucus' web page for further information on the Caucus workstreams.
Coalition website soon available in French
With support from the Coalition’s Innovation Fund, Équilibres & Populations (E&P) is working with the Secretariat to translate key components of the Coalition website for easier access by our French-speaking members. Secretariat and E&P staff met this month to identify priorities and establish a timeline for the translation process. The French version of the website will be available in late 2009. A Spanish translation is planned for the future.
Innovation Fund deadline approaching
The deadline for the next round of Innovation Fund proposals is fast approaching. Applications must be submitted through the Working Group Leaders by September 1, 2009. For more information, please contact the Secretariat.
This month, the Coalition welcomed three new members, bringing our membership up to 96:
Stop Stock-outs: Pill Check Week Findings
The Stop Stock-outs campaign recently conducted spot checks of public health facilities in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, and Zambia to gather information about stock-outs and potential shortages for ten essential medicines. The survey found stock-outs of essential medicines in more than 100 government hospitals and clinics surveyed across the countries. A map of the findings is now available on the Stop Stock-outs website.
Highlights from the Working Groups
Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)
Project RMA: UMATI, Tanzania’s IPPF Member Association, and other Project RMA partners are successfully advocating for increases in Tanzania’s 2009-10 budget for family planning supplies. The advocates, supported by UMATI’s patron, the Prime Minister, are working closely with the Ministries of Health and Finance, parliamentarians, and the media to increase the budget from US$2.65 million to US$7.26 million—the amount identified by the country’s contraceptive commodity security committee as necessary to meet contraceptive needs. To date, over 25 percent of the total has been allocated from government revenues, and a plan to secure the remaining funds is under development. More information can be found here.
Mobilizing financial resources: The Global Exchange Network for Reproductive Health (GEN) collaborated with USAID|Health Policy Initiative to highlight the USAID publication, Contraceptive Security Ready Lessons II, 6: Mobilizing Financial Resources from July 20–24, 2009. During the week-long event, 149 people from 46 countries logged into the forum. Discussions focused on the current situation for FP financing, steps being taken to mobilize resources, supply challenges in the context of decentralization, and advocacy to reposition family planning. The forum provided a platform for country and regional exchange on a variety of FP issues as well as interesting approaches and opportunities to address resource mobilization and political commitment for contraceptives. For more information, contact Priya Emmart or Tanvi Pandit-Rajani.
Systems Strengthening Working Group (SSWG)
Countries at Risk (CAR): In this month’s CAR teleconference, updated shipment information was provided for ten countries, which helped donors and countries accurately plan future shipments. Long-term stock-outs may occur in the Dominican Republic due to delays in the release of resources for commodity procurement; donors are following up on a potential emergency shipment of contraceptive injectables and combined oral pills. CAR members are assessing contraceptive stocks and needs in Honduras after the MOH failed to procure RH supplies with essential medicines. In Kenya, significant progress is being made in quantifying contraceptive needs for 2010 and identifying available funding and funding gaps. The CAR is supporting this process by helping to identify financing options. A new set of CAR norms have been approved, and the CAR is continuing to discuss broadening the group's membership. Contact Kevin Pilz for more information.
Market Development Approaches Working Group (MDAWG)
Teleconference date changes: Due to scheduling conflicts, the monthly MDA WG teleconferences have been rescheduled for August and September. Rather than occurring the first Thursday of the month, the teleconference will now be August 11 and Sept 8. In October, the teleconference schedule will go back to the first Thursday. Contact Ben Light or Steve Kinzett for more information.
For more details on the above and other events, see the events calendar on the Coalition website.