July 2010 in Review
In the spotlight
Coalition commits to reduce unmet need

As a member of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition, what would your organization be willing to commit in order to bring about dramatic declines in the global unmet need for family planning? Would you commit to changing key policies in your organization or even country? Would you commit to increasing the intensity or breadth of your current activities? Would you commit funds? In the coming months, members across the globe will be asked these tough questions as the Coalition embarks on the next phase of its effort to rally support among the FP community for the UN Secretary General’s Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health.

Using a new Clarion Call for Action, the Coalition will seek out commitments of supportinitially from its members, then subsequently from a wider network of stakeholderstowards achieving the aims of the Global Strategy. These will then be delivered in conjunction with this September’s Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in an effort to culminate the initial phase of our mobilization effort, but alsoeven more importantlyto serve as the launch pad for a sustained advocacy and accountability campaign. This month, the Coalition engaged the communications firm GMMB to assist in developing the Clarion Call campaign and in ensuring broad-based recognition of the role of family planning in ensuring better reproductive health outcomes. For more information, please contact Coalition Director, John Skibiak.

Coalition on the scene
Thinking of Uganda

With memories of Kampala still fresh in the minds of many Coalition members, we extend our deepest sympathies to our Ugandan colleagues and all those affected in the wake of the 12 July bombings. Coalition member Uganda Health Marketing Group (UHMG) co-sponsored the World Cup viewing at the Kyadondo Rugby Club, where it was able to promote its condom brands. Tragically, UHMG lost its Senior Finance Manager in the blasts and a number of other staff were traumatized by the disastrous event. Our condolences go out to his family and the rest of the UHMG staff during this difficult time.

Representation of Global South on Executive Committee

The Secretariat is calling for applications to fill two seats on the Executive Committee that will become vacant in November of this year. The seats are designated for a regional association or network from the Global South and are intended to ensure that the Coalition’s key policy discussions and decisions remain global, and that they encompass the views and perspectives of its partners in the developing world.

Applicant organizations may come from any sector, must be members of the Coalition, and must demonstrate their commitment and past experience in RH commodity security. The deadline for applications is 15 October 2010. For more information on the new seat, contact Coalition Director John Skibiak.

DFID consultation on reproductive, maternal, and newborn health

On Tuesday, 27 July, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) launched a public consultation to inform the development of their forthcoming business plan on reproductive, maternal, and newborn health. The 12-week consultation is seeking input, views, and opinions from partners across the world. This consultation runs until Tuesday, 20 October 2010. To find out more and have your say, please click here.

Reproductive health supplies and the MDGs

In conjunction with the start of Belgium's Presidency of the European Union, Marie Stopes International, Countdown 2015 Europe, and the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition, hosted a high-level event aimed at highlighting the importance of RH and RH supplies in achieving the MDGs. Guest speakers included Marleen Temmerman, Belgian senator and winner of the 2010 British Medical Journal (BMJ) Lifetime Achievement Award; technical experts; and representatives from the European Commission and the developing world, including the Tanzanian Ministry of Health. Discussions focused on the impact of the new aid architecture on development assistanceespecially in the health field—as well as the challenges of country-level logistics, and the potential role of the private sector in improving RH outcomes. The participants highlighted the link between RH commodity security and achievement of the MDGs and concluded their discussions with concrete recommendations for each of the topics discussed to be taken forward to this September's MDG Summit in New York. For more information about the event, including the specific recommendations made, please contact Peter Schaffler, Advocacy Officer at Marie Stopes International. 

Coalition welcomes its newest members

This month, the Coalition welcomed four new members bringing our membership to 119.

  • Noble Missions for Change Initiative (NMCI): NMCI is a Nigerian NGO working to empower people, especially youth, through educational initiatives on topics including sexual and reproductive health, parenting, and career planning.
  • Youth Action Movement (YAM): YAM is a Rwandan youth advocacy group, affiliated with the Family Planning Association of Rwanda. YAM supports efforts to ensure the sexual and reproductive health of young people and guarantee their access to RH supplies. 
  • All Our Lives: All Our Lives is a new US-based non-profit organization with members in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania. All Our Lives supports sexual decision-making, including contraceptive choice, and fostering access to RH supplies.
  • Fondation Mérieux: Fondation Mérieux is a French foundation that focuses on strengthening the capacity of developing countries to reduce the impact of infectious diseases on vulnerable populations.
Highlights from the Working Groups
Systems Strengthening Working Group (SSWG)

AccessRH and RHInterchange (RHI) Update: In July, four new staff members (a Business Analyst, Systems Architect, Demand Planner, and Contracting and Administrative Associate) were hired to join the AccessRH team in Copenhagen. The AccessRH Advisory Group finalized the Group's Terms of Reference during a teleconference, and the revised draft has now been sent out to members for final approval. The Advisory Group also appointed Wolfgang Bichmann, former Chair of the Coalition’s Executive Committee and a Vice President at KfW, as AccessRH Chairperson. Also in July, UNFPA staff began conducting a comparative analysis of inventory management practices among selected suppliers to inform the design AccessRH procurement. For further information, please contact Karina Donnelly.

AccessRH seeking a Country Representative: AccessRH is seeking a Country Representative to sit on its AccessRH Advisory Group. The post is for three years, and the incumbent will participate in twice-annual meetings. The deadline for applications is the end of September 2010.  For more information on the post, please contact AccessRH.

Coordinated Assistance for Reproductive Health Supplies group (CARhs): The CARhs provided information on upcoming shipments to address 23 requests from 13 countries.

  • USAID worked with the Missions in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Zambia, and Ghana to place new orders for several commodities and avoid impending shortages later this year. 
  • In Nigeria, UNFPA planned a new order of Implanon and expedited an order of Microgynon to prevent a stockout.  
  • UNFPA postponed an order of oral contraceptives to Kenya, and USAID cancelled a CycleBead order to Haiti to avert an overstock of both products.

Contact Kevin Pilz for more information. 

Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)

Empty Handed on the Road:  In July, Empty Handed: Responding to the Demand for Contraceptives was shown in multiple countries to packed audiences. On 6 July in Brussels, the filmproduced by PAI with the support of the Coalition’s Innovation Fundwas featured at the high-level event described  above, aimed at promoting the link between RH supplies and the achievement of the MDGs.

Earlier in the month, the film was also screened in Malawi at a Parliamentary Health Committee, attended by the Minister of Health and 21 Members of Parliament. The Minister of Health used the opportunity to advocate lessening the burden on the country’s women and girls. In both Belgium and Malawi, responses to the film were positive, especially its message that securing access to RH supplies is the collective responsibility of both developed and developing countries. 

Empty Handed was developed as a tool to promote increased commitment to RH supplies. Members are encouraged to link to the film via the Coalition’s website, to request copies, and to use it to support advocacy work. For more information about Empty Handed and to request DVD copies, please contact Wendy Turnbull.

Ghana repositioning family planning: At a meeting last month between Ghana’s Minister of Finance, PPAG, UNFPA, USAID|DELIVER, and Ghana Health Service, the Ministry of Finance committed to reposition family planning as an economic and development issue. PPAG and partners demonstrated the benefits to Ghana of reducing its dependency on donors to meet family planning needs and of closing the US $12 million funding gap for family planning, citing the reduction in contraceptive prevalence from 19% to 17% as a direct impact of inadequate funding and political commitment. The 2007 Contraceptive Security Strategy is up for review, and the Minister of Finance agreed that it was of vital importance that the Ministry participates in the review. PPAG were requested to develop materials and briefing sheets to inform the Ministry, and they have now partnered with JSI to develop a range of materials.

Market Development Approaches Working Group (MDA WG)

Teleconference Updates: Due to the summer holiday season, the MDA WG will not hold a teleconference in August. The next teleconference is scheduled for Thursday, 2 September. Please contact Ben Light or Steve Kinzett for further information.

Caucus on New and Underused RH Technologies

The Caucus sets sail: The Caucus on New and Underused RH Technologies held its first quarterly teleconference on 13 July. Participants identified official liaisons for each of the Coalition's three Working Groups, discussed efforts to better publicize the group's technical briefs, and discussed the submission of an Innovation Fund proposal. Please click here for full minutes of the meeting. The Caucus’ next teleconference will be Tuesday, 12 October. For further information, please contact Bonnie Keith.

Upcoming Events

2 Sept MDA WG Teleconference
20-22 Sept UN MDG Summit, New York. Click here for more information.
30 Sept Deadline for Country Representative AccessRH Advisory Group applications
7 Oct Achieving Universal Access to RH, Brussels. Contact An Huybrechts for more information.
12 Oct Caucus Teleconference
15 Oct Deadline for Executive Committee representative applications

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

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