June 2007 in Review



In the spotlight


Finalising the Strategic Plan

A group of seven monitoring and evaluation (M&E) specialists from John Snow, Inc., Constella Futures, Tulane University, and UNFPA met with John Skibiak and Margaret Neuse on June 8 in Washington, DC to review and refine the indicators in the Coalition’s Strategic Plan. Participants at the meeting also identified areas where collaboration among the agencies could potentially address the Coalition’s own M&E needs. Key recommendations included: focus on a core set of countries for M&E; establish a two-phase timeline; focus on indicators within the Coalition’s “manageable interest”; and highlight indicators that demonstrate the added value of the Coalition.

Outcomes and recommendations of the meeting are now being incorporated into the Strategic Plan, which will then be sent back to the M&E group and the Strategic Plan Task Force, then to the Executive Committee for approval.





Coalition on the scene




Membership Task Force takes first steps

The first Membership Task Force teleconference took place on June 25 with the aim of reviewing its draft scope of work (SOW) and agreeing on next steps. The Task Force aims to submit a set of recommendations on the composition and structure of Coalition membership, along with an operational plan to implement these recommendations. Defining membership will entail three stages—a preliminary landscape review, consolidation of findings, and formulation of recommendations for submission to the Executive Committee by the end of August.

Over the coming month, consultant David Johnson of HLSP will interview Task Force members and others whose constituencies are not represented (e.g., developing-country governments and pharmaceutical companies) and prepare a discussion paper that the Task Force will review in London during the week of August 13.

Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Planning Committee update

On June 20, the LAC Planning Committee met by teleconference for the second time to identify and develop specific themes and issues to be addressed at the next membership meeting in October. Over the coming weeks, concept papers will be prepared on five specific themes, which will form the main part of the meeting: 1) history of family planning in LAC, 2) resource mobilisation, 3) procurement, 4) health sector reform (relating to either commodity security or supply chain), and 5) cross-cutting themes. In mid-July, Planning Committee coordinator, Kevin Pilz, will send the Secretariat a consolidated proposal for the whole event, which can then be submitted to the Executive Committee as it reviews other proposals for inclusion in the agenda.

April meeting minutes now on the website

Minutes from the Coalition’s seventh semi-annual membership meeting held in London on April 27–28 and a summary of the Executive Committee meeting have now been posted on the website.

Coalition web project moves forward

This month, plans to develop a new website for the Coalition took a big step forward. Catherine Potter, the Secretariat’s new Communications Officer, put together a project plan after discussions within the Secretariat and selected members of the Coalition’s Communications Task Force who have a strong interest in the project. As a first step, a questionnaire will be sent out shortly to current Coalition partners and other potential audiences to get key input in designing and structuring the new website. Contact cpotter@path.org for more details about the project or if you wish to get involved in the project team.

RH Reality Check features Coalition

RH Reality Check, an online community and publication on reproductive health, has published an article on reproductive health commodities, featuring the Coalition. Click here to read.





RH supplies-related news bites


Reproductive health (RH) supplies have been in the news a lot in June. In this new section, some of the latest key stories are summarised. Contact cpotter@path.org with your feedback/input.

G8 acknowledges supplies. The G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, ended with an Africa Communiqué with several areas of relevance to the Coalition’s work. They reiterated their support for WHO’s work, including its prequalification programme and for regulatory authorities to help assure the safety, efficacy, and quality of pharmaceutical drugs. The G8 agreed to work with African governments to strengthen procurement practices and with international organisations and donors to intensify their efforts to assist countries in setting up a workable forecasting system for pharmaceutical demand. The G8 also welcomed innovative financing initiatives, such as UNITAID (the international drug purchase facility) and the Advance Market Commitments, to support development programmes

Congress talks supplies. On June 21, the US House of Representatives voted on a provision to exempt overseas NGO family planning providers from the restrictions of the Mexico City Policy that cuts off the flow of US-donated contraceptives and condoms. Also included was a provision that repeals the abstinence-only funding restrictions under PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDs Relief) that require at least one-third of all US HIV/AIDS prevention funding to be spent on abstinence programmes. These provisions were attached to the US$34.2 billion foreign aid appropriations bill for 2008, which the House approved 241 to 178. The bill was then adopted by the full Senate Appropriations Committee on June 28. The White House has threatened to veto the bill if it maintains the two provisions.

WHO expands list of essential medicines. The 15th edition of the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, updated every two years since 1977, was published in March. The list now officially includes implantable contraceptives (levonorgestrel-releasing implants) and the one-month injectable (medroxyprogresterone acetate + estradiol cypionate). Click here to read.

DFID HIV and AIDS consultation. DFID has just launched a worldwide public consultation for its 'Updating Taking Action – the UK's strategy for tackling AIDS in the developing world'. The consultation document, which can be accessed here, includes many questions on supplies and integration. All Coalition members are encouraged to provide input to the Secretariat by the beginning of August.




Highlights from the Working Groups


Systems Strengthening Working Group (SSWG)

RHInterchange (RHI). The team began country-level information-gathering for the RHI this month in Ghana. They conducted interviews with MOH officials, programme managers, central medical stores, service providers, donors, and implementing partners. They will visit Rwanda, Ethiopia, Honduras, and Guatemala in July and August. If you can recommend someone involved in RH supplies management they should speak with in any of those countries, please contact Jane Feinberg or Mimi Whitehouse.

Background materials and navigation instructions for the RHI tool are now available in French and will soon also be available in Spanish. Both will be posted soon on the website. In addition, the team is in the process of translating the site itself so that the RHI will be navigable in both Spanish and French in the near future.

Market Development Approaches Working Group (MDA WG)

The MDA WG met by teleconference during the month and welcomed two new participants from USAID – Maggie Farrell and Patricia Mengech who have replaced Shyami De Silva and Joan Robertson on the WG. Joan has moved to Constella-Futures and may still be involved with the WG.

Following the results of a small survey undertaken by Steve Kinzett, it was agreed to postpone the Country Typology project and instead seek funds for ideas of standard measurement of MDAs as soon as the SOW for evaluation of MDAs has been circulated.

Since the MDA meeting in London, where the small group agreed to focus on generics to increase demand creation, it was also agreed that new topics could be brought to the MDA with increased participation from new partners. With this in mind, Steve Kinzett and Ben Light will produce a concept paper for a full MDA meeting in September to review MDA work already undertaken (particularly under the USAID | PSP-One Project), bring together more partners, and investigate the idea (with ICON) of a manufacturers’ forum.

Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (Project RMA)

On June 27, Project RMA met by teleconference. Among the outcomes of the meeting was the decision to add Tanzania to the list of countries (which so far includes Burkina Faso and Uganda) where Project RMA will focus its work. Up to three more countries are yet to be selected. Evidence is currently being gathered for Phase II of the Istanbul Country studies with the help of HLSP, and a research trip is being planned for late July, which will include an assessment of civil society for Tanzania.

Work on the Advocacy Toolkit has also progressed, with rollout scheduled for the next membership meeting in October. The Toolkit contains three components: 1) a "How-To Guide" which provides guidance on selecting advocacy objectives, creating effective messages and reaching decision-makers with effective communication; 2) a package of tools and templates such as PowerPoints, policy briefs, and fact sheets; and 3) an information bank with sources that will be linked to the SSWG one-stop technical resource databank.





Upcoming events


11 July

Countries at Risk (CAR) Teleconference, 10.00–11.00 EST

17–19 July

18–20 Sept

USAID/MSH/DSW virtual conference on “Re-Positioning Family Planning for Francophone Africa” (contact conferencevirtuelle@msh.org for more information)

24 July

Market Development Approaches (MDA) Teleconference, 11.00–12.00 EST

24–25 October

Membership meeting, Washington, DC






Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition

Rue Marie-Thérèse, 21
1000 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 (0)2 210.02.22
Fax: +32 (0)2 219.33.63
Email: rhsccommunications@path.org