July 2011 in Review        
In the Spotlight

LAC Forum shapes regional Working Groups

This month, 75 participants from more than 21 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) met in Panama to help shape the future of the LAC Foruma regional coordinating mechanism within the Coalition dedicated to ensuring reproductive health commodity security. For three days, participants met in plenary and in break-out sessions to identify Forum priorities and formulate a thematic framework for organizing working groups.


Following a rich and sometimes passionate debate, two new working groups were established: one devoted to mobilizing social, political, and financial support; the other to strengthening systems, with subgroups on human resources and logistics systems. The meeting showcased the participants’ ability to work together and their commitment to strengthen cooperation across the region. Decisions made in Panama will shape working group activities through to their next face-to-face meeting.


For more information on the Panama meeting and its outcomes, contact Gloria Castany in the Coalition Secretariat, or Hugo González of UNFPA LAC Region. Spanish-speakers can now consult a new page on the Coalition's website dedicated to the meeting; the webpage contains copies of all presentations, a complete list of participants, and photos from the day's events. 

Coalition on the scene
Addis Call to Action now final

The final Call to Action resulting from June’s Access for All conference is now available online. This document is the result of numerous contributions by conference participants and reflects the many discussions and ideas raised in Addis Ababa. The Call to Action will be a key force driving the work of the Coalition and its members in the coming decade. 


The document contains three key priority areas: the recognition of reproductive health and family planning as priority development issues; country ownership of RH commodity security; and the need for an additional, adequate, and sustainable resource base. Each priority area also contains actions recommended by conference participants to achieve these priorities. For more information, please contact Lou Compernolle.

Please take the Access for All evaluation survey

With the finalization of the Call to Action, the Coalition Secretariat has posted an online evaluation survey for the Access for All conference. Conference participants are asked to visit the link below and answer a few questions about their experience in the pre-meetings, the conference itself, and their perception of the overall meeting outcomes. The results of this survey will inform the future work of the Coalition as well as help determine the impact of the conference. Please click here to access the survey. For questions, please contact Matt Havlik.

IMPLANON® Access Initiative underway

During the Access for All conference, MSD/Merck announced its IMPLANON® Access Initiative, which significantly reduces the price of IMPLANON® to least resourced countries. MSD/Merck envisions that this new lower price will dramatically expand access to IMPLANON® by 14.5 million women between now and 2015. MSD/Merck has kick-started the initiative by applying the new access price to all pending orders. This will allow MSD/Merck to expand access and optimize its production to meet the anticipated growth in demand, which may in turn result in a further price reduction for IMPLANON® in the future.


Additionally, MSD/Merck has set up a team to develop the strategic roll-out and address forward looking issues of demand planning to inform manufacturing capacity requirements. Among other key priorities, the team is currently finalizing the list of eligible low resource countries, and will, in alignment with partners, set priorities regarding focus countries with the highest need. The team is currently engaged in discussions with the UN Foundation and UNFPA to explore how finance mechanisms such as the Pledge Guarantee for Health and AccessRH can be best applied to the IMPLANON® Access Initiative. For more information on the IMPLANON® Access Initiative please contact Elizabeth Nyamayaro, External Affairs Liaisons Lead Africa.

Futures’ GAP tool sees early success

Unveiled only a month ago at the Access for All conference, the Health Policy Project’s GAP (Gather, Analyze, and Plan) Tool has already achieved success. The tool is a simple Excel-based product designed to help policymakers, ministry officials, and health officials understand the costs associated with expanding family planning to achieve their country’s contraceptive prevalence or fertility goals. During the Access for All conference, the Health Policy Project demonstrated the use of the GAP Tool in Ethiopia and Nigeria and led a hands-on session for country stakeholders, detailing the process for collecting inputs and reviewing outputs.


This month, the Health Policy Project announced that Uganda had successfully applied the tool to advocate for inclusion of contraceptives in the country’s Round 10 Proposal to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. As a result of the advocacy initiative, US$8.7 million was secured from the Global Fund for the procurement of family planning commodities. Two features of the tool were found to be particularly useful: its user-friendly format and the high level of data capture, making it particularly appealing to donors and governments. For more information on the tool, please contact Priya Emmart at Futures.

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

New Secretariat lead for the CARhs: This month, the Coordinated Assistance for RH Supplies (CARhs) group transitioned management of its Secretariat from USAID to UNFPA. Joe Abraham at UNFPA in New York has assumed the mantle of CARhs Coordinator, taking over from Kevin Pilz and Kaitlyn Roche of USAID, who managed the CARhs for the last three years.


During its July teleconference, the CARhs addressed upcoming shipment information on eight requests in six countries. Among the issues discussed were potential stockouts of male condoms in Tanzania, opportunities to ship an overstock of Microlut pills from Zambia to Mozambique, better coordination of shipments between UNFPA and USAID, and new upgrades to the Procurement Planning and Monitoring Report (PPMR) that will improve its use for CARhs country-monitoring purposes. Contact Joe Abraham for more information. 

Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)

Workplan Task Force gets to work: A Task Force made up of RMA WG members aiming to finalize the group's annual workplan initiated its efforts this month. An email was sent to RMA WG members soliciting input on the draft strategy, mostly developed in Addis. If you would like to comment on the strategy and did not receive the email, please contact Wendy Turnbull at PAI, lead of the Task Force, or Lou Compernolle at the Secretariat. The full minutes of the RMA WG meeting in Addis can be found here.

Caucus on New and Underused RH Technologies (Caucus)

Quarterly teleconference update: The Caucus held its third quarterly teleconference on July 13th. Participants reflected upon the Caucus’s face-to-face meeting in Addis and the presentations offered in plenary during the Coalition’s Annual Membership Meeting. Members reviewed Caucus plans for 2011-2012, including the facilitation of a maternal health supplies task force, an update the existing Product Briefs as needed, and the publication of an editorial on new and underused RH technologies. Five of the Caucus' Product Briefs are now available as resources in Knowledge4Health product-specific eToolkits. The next quarterly teleconference will be Wednesday, October 12th. Details of the meeting are available in the minutes online. Please contact Bonnie Keith for more information.

Upcoming Events

9 Aug RMA WG Teleconference
13 Sept MDA WG Teleconference
12 Oct Caucus Teleconference
29 Nov2 Dec International Conference on Family Panning, Dakar


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

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