June / July 2012 in Review
In The Spotlight: a double issue
Since its launch in November 2006, SupplyInsider has reported monthly on commodities-related news. This issue, however, is an unusual departure: for the first time, we will report news from June and July, as several extraordinary events have taken place back-to-back in these two months, including the release of an evaluation report on the Coalition, our Executive Committee meeting, and the recent Family Planning Summit.
Family Planning Summit 2012
By now, all of us should be familiar with the impact the Family Planning Summit has made on world media and public consciousness. Donors made new financial commitments of US $2.6 billion to support plans in more than 20 developing countries to address the policy, financing and delivery barriers to contraceptive information, services and supplies.
At the Summit, the Coalition’s power of partnership was commended more than once. We appreciate that that Pfizer credited joining the Coalition as a significant part of its commitment to family planning, and MSD/Merck pinpointed the Coalition’s neutral platform as a vehicle for increasing access to affordable contraception under the Implanon® Access Initiative. Meanwhile in Brussels, Coalition partners helped organize a shadow event at the European Parliament.
In the aftermath of the Summit, the Coalition will continue to keep issues under the spotlight by showcasing partners’ commitments as part of our communications initiative. Our recent announcement celebrating longtime partner Female Health Company’s pledge can be found here.
Executive Committee Meeting
On June 25 and 26, members of the Coalition’s Executive Committee assembled in London for their first semiannual meeting of 2012. Held at the offices of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Committee members focused their deliberations around two key issues: reviewing the results of the Coalition’s recently completed program evaluation and charting a course for the development of future funding proposals. A summary of the minutes, once approved, will be posted on the Coalition website. Key outcomes of the meeting included the following:
- Dr. Gustavo Gonzalez-Canali, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is elected to the Executive Committee.
- Full RHSC evaluation report to be released to membership.
- Efforts to refresh RHSC’s theory of change, strategic plan, and M&E framework to begin in autumn.
- Approval given for creation of a new Caucus on Maternal Health Supplies.
- Approval given to develop and submit a proposal to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that focuses on partnership building, market dynamics, stockouts and multi-sectoral engagement.
- Coalition to have visible presence at 2013 Women Deliver Conference in Kuala Lumpur.
- Potential themes for the Paris 2012 Annual Meeting to include Francophone Africa, post-FP Summit developments; new directions for the Coalition; quality assurance of products; and method choice.
- 2013 RHSC Annual Meeting venue to be discussed at the Paris meeting.
Evaluation report now online
Over the last four months, partners from across the Coalition have offered their time, input and insight into the Coalition’s first external evaluation. Commissioned by the Coalition’s major donors, the evaluators -- independent consultant Don Lauro, and Adrienne Chattoe-Brown of HLSP -- were tasked with reviewing our achievements, structures and processes to date, and with exploring our network’s prospects for the future. Their findings, which were unveiled at the June Executive Committee meeting, paint a positive portrait of the Coalition – praising its role as a "neutral convener" and describing it as "a best case investment for going the next and last miles to make FP/RH supplies available for all who wish to use them."
The authors also identified strategies for addressing the future: more actively engaging partners from the Global South and updating our strategic framework to better leverage our comparative advantages in today’s supplies landscape. So impressed was the Executive Committee by the evaluators’ work, the decision was taken to make available their report to the membership at large. A copy of the report is now available online and will be housed in SID – the Supplies Information Database.
Thirteenth annual membership meeting in Paris 4-5 October
On 25 July, invitations to the Annual Membership Meeting were sent out to the official "contact person(s)" of every Coalition member organization. This is a reminder to please respond to your invitations soon. More information on the meeting can be found on our website.
Ex Co Mtg
Annual Membership Meeting
Annual Membership Meeting
Financial Times special supplement on reproductive health
The contraceptive supply chain, sex education, reproductive rights and choice, HIV-Aids services and social stigma were all subjects of a six-page supplement in the Financial Times of London (FT). Several months in the planning, this effort was kick-started by the Coalition, which also collated members’ news ideas and made many virtual introductions between its members and the FT’s health editor. Partners’ interest in commercial and editorial coverage was overwhelming and we thank everyone for once again proving that the power of partnership does reap concrete results!
The FT has a daily readership of more than 2 million. On the day the supplement was issued, the number of hits on the Coalition homepage increased eight-fold overnight. The special report on sexual and reproductive health can be read here.
200 members and counting…
In July, the Coalition welcomed its 200th member. To commemorate this milestone, our homepage features a series of banners highlighting the added value the Coalition offers its members and, indeed, receives in return. Our 200th member is the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, the only organization that brings together professional societies of obstetricians and gynecologists on a global basis. Currently it has member societies in 124 countries or territories. Other members who joined in June and July are:
A meeting in May at the Rockefeller Center in Bellagio studied barriers to long-acting reversible contraception access (LARC) under the broader context of contraceptive choice. In June, participants have released the Bellagio Consensus: Recommendations for Action to Increase Access to Highly Effective, Long-Acting, Reversible Contraception.
Choice was also the focus of a follow-up telebriefing in July in which Coalition Director John Skibiak, FIGO President-Elect Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran (UK), and WomanCare Global’s CEO, Saundra Pelletier gave presentations introduced by John Townsend, Director of the Population Council’s Reproductive Health program. The briefing was well attended and points discussed will be a key area of focus at the Paris membership meeting.
Please contact John Skibiak for more information.
Generic contraceptives pass quality reviews
This month saw a number of new RH products emerge successfully from two internationally-recognized quality reviews. An Expert Review Panel (ERP) assessment, carried out by WHO on behalf of UNFPA, recommended five products for time-limited procurement by UNFPA: four combined oral contraceptives (COCs) and one low dose – progestogen-only oral contraceptive. For more information contact the Secretariat.
July also saw the Cupid female condom become the second female condom to receive WHO/UNFPA prequalification. We extend congratulations to our partner agency Cupid Ltd, a Coalition member since November last year.
Highlights from the Working Groups
Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)
In June, 30 RMA WG members met in Brussels to discuss budgets, district advocacy, and the post-MDG framework. Country- and global-partners from civil society, technical agencies and government refined the group’s work plan and discussed opportunities to expand the RMA WG’s role in post-London accountability frameworks.
The RMA WG has produced a policy document that maps input from 26 of the world’s poorest countries. It is designed to serve as a springboard to raise awareness, mobilize resources, drive policy change and hold governments and donors accountable for their commitments. The Working Group has also committed to convening country-level consultations to identify the most pressing policy barriers to service delivery and define actions to address them.
WHO’s list of Priority Medicines for Women and Children now includes contraceptives. Spearheaded by RMA’s work-stream on task shifting, WHO convened an expert meeting to review global strategies to increase access to modern contraception. The technical consultation, which brought together 37 participants from 17 countries, identified optimal strategies to 1) increase access to long-term contraceptives 2) reach target populations 3) optimize human resources and 4) address unmet needs of women who access the health system. The consultation concluded with a set of policy and programmatic recommendations for optimizing human resources.
Election season: MDAWG and SSWG seeking new Leaders
Two of the Coalition’s three Working Groups are seeking new Leaders in August. After many years of dedicated service, Ben Light is stepping down as MDAWG Leader. Mimi Whitehouse has taken a new position and will unfortunately no longer be able to perform Coalition-related duties.
Nominations for both Working Groups are currently being accepted. If you are interested in being Leader of either Working Group, please contact Bonnie Keith for further information before 17 August. Terms of Reference for the role of Leader are available for the MDA here and the SSWG here.
Latin America/Caribbean Forum (LAC Forum)
To boost the region’s visibility on the global development agenda, 17 members of the Coalition’s Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) Forum produced a factsheet with key messages on RH and development cooperation.
This document draws attention to the consequences of what is often referred to as "tyranny of averages": the tendency for macro-level growth and prosperity to mask social and economic disparities at sub-national levels. This fact sheet is aimed specifically at donors who fail to distinguish economic growth from social development. It was circulated on the day of the Family Planning Summit and was accompanied by a dedicated social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter. The Coalition is keen to track the dissemination of this document and welcomes all feedback on actions and impact to Gloria Castany at the Secretariat.
Market Development Approaches Working Group (MDAWG)
On 4-5 June, members of the MDAWG met with representatives from the reproductive health product development community to exchange information, share technical knowledge, and identify potential areas of collaboration.
Entitled "Priming the Future", the meeting saw more than 50 participants assemble at the offices of the Hewlett Foundation. Their aim was to optimize product introduction by understanding better what end users want and need. Critical themes included pricing complexity; regulatory hurdles; forecasting demand; and demedicalization.
The following day, MDA members discussed key Working Group items, including updating the list of workstreams and making decisions on Innovation Fund applications. Meeting minutes and presentations are available here.
Francophone Forum (SECONAF)
On 26-27 June, 22 members from the Coalition’s Francophone Forum (SECONAF) met for a two-day SpitfireTM
training in Brussels organized by the Coalition in collaboration with Advance Family Planning. SpitfireTM
is a practical approach to developing successful and strategic advocacy programs. The diverse country teams comprising donors, government and civil society represented Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mali, Mauritania, Togo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Participants honed their skills in strategic advocacy and familiarized themselves with tools such as RAPID
developed by Futures Group International.
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