June 2008 in Review
In the spotlight
New Supplies Information Database (SID) on website
This month, the new Supplies Information Database (SID) debuted on the Coalition website. Funded through the RHInterchange, with technical support from Mimi Whitehouse, Jane Feinberg, and Jo Annah Jensen, SID is an online reference library with over 6,000 records on the status of reproductive health (RH) supplies at country level. The library includes studies, assessments, and other publications dating back to 1986, many of which are no longer available even in their country of origin. SID's user-friendly search and feedback features allow users to locate, download, and print materials. Documents can be searched by keyword, country, date, subject area, and even type of publication. Continuously updated, SID offers users exclusive access to the latest supply information for more than 230 countries and territories worldwide.
SID can be accessed via a new banner and write-up on the website’s homepage, as well as through the navigational link to a new section of the website devoted to Coalition resources and tools. Contact Coalition Communications Officer, Catherine Potter, for more information on SID or the Coalition website.
Coalition on the scene
Securing the Secretariat's long-term future
Following the recommendations of the Executive Committee, work has begun to assure the Secretariat’s financial sustainability beyond September 2009, when its current grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ends. The first step in that process is the development of a concept paper, which the Executive Committee will use as the basis for more detailed discussions with potential funding agencies in the early autumn.
Global Advocacy Project seeks consultant
For the last few months, a number of Coalition partners have been exploring the prospects of jointly developing a strategic framework to help improve collaboration, coordination, and cooperation in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) supplies advocacy at national, regional, and global levels. Those involved in the discussions have developed the Terms of Reference for a consultancy that will map current activities and gaps in SRH supplies advocacy. The results of the consultancy will then be used to determine whether and how to define one or more strategic framework(s) to improve SRH advocacy.
Getting supplies onto the agenda in Ireland
On June 26, Coalition Director John Skibiak traveled to Dublin to introduce the issue of RH supplies security and the work of the Coalition to members of Ireland’s All Party Interest Group on Sexual and RH Rights, Population and Development. Sharing the podium was British MP, Richard Ottaway, co-author of the well-known report, Return of the Population Growth Factor, and Head of the UK’s own All Party Group on population. Organized by Karen Griffin of the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) and Senator Fiona O'Malley, Head of the All Party Group, the briefing was held in historic Leinster House, seat of the Irish parliament (Oireachtas).
There are many points of common interest between the Coalition and Ireland’s ODA agenda. Of Irish Aid’s nine programme countries, four are also Coalition focus countries (Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Mozambique). Ireland is a major contributor to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) and has just signed an agreement to provide €90 million to support their work. This level of investment puts them in a good position to support Coalition efforts, led by PAI, to use GFATM resources for RH generally. Ireland's contributions to UNFPA, including the Global Programme, have also risen consistently over the past decade. The IFPA is a collaborating member of the Countdown 2015 Europe partnership and has been working to ensure that the issue of RH supplies achieves higher visibility on Ireland’s ODA agenda.
Meeting supply needs in emergency situations
This month, Coalition Technical Officer Steve Kinzett traveled to Kampala, Uganda to serve as a guest speaker and panelist at an international conference organized on behalf of the RAISE Initiative (Reproductive Health Access, Information and Services in Emergencies). During the three-day event, humanitarian workers and RH experts discussed the problems of getting RH supplies to people in disasters, conflict, and post-conflict situations, including the rapid delivery of emergency contraception, post-exposure prophylaxis, and safe delivery kits. Providing supplies to countries in crisis represents one of three major focus area within Goal 2 (strengthening supply systems) of the Coalition’s new Strategic Plan. Two panels on logistics and supply chain management provided the fora for heightening awareness of the Coalition and its work. One notable outcome of the meeting was a proposal by Marie Stopes International to create a new work stream under the Systems Strengthening Working Group, devoted to addressing supply challenges in emergency situations. For more information on the Kampala conference, refer to the RAISE website at http://www.raiseinitiative.org/conference/ or contact Steve Kinzett.
Executive Committee seeks representative from Global South
This month, the Secretariat called for applicants to fill a new seat on the Executive Committee, designated for a regional association or network from the Global South. Following guidelines established under the Coalition’s new membership policy, applicant organizations may come from any sector (public or non-governmental), must be members of the Coalition, and must demonstrate their commitment to and past experience in RH commodity security. The deadline for applications is July 31, 2008. Those wishing for more information on the new seat may click here or contact Coalition Director John Skibiak.
Advocates for Youth becomes the Coalition's 68th member
This month, the Secretariat welcomed one new member to the Coalition, the US-based NGO, Advocates for Youth. Established in 1980, Advocates for Youth creates programmes and advocates for policies that enable young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health. It is the only organization working both in the USA and the developing world with a sole focus on adolescent reproductive and sexual health. To apply for membership in the Coalition, click here.
What's new on the Coalition's website?
This month has seen significant activity on the Coalition website. Check out the following news and events for more information:
Highlights from the Working Groups
Systems Strengthening Working Group (SSWG)
RHInterchange (RHI): The RHI database this month expanded its reach to approximately 71% of all donor-funded supplies. Users can now access information on more than US$1 billion of contraceptive orders and shipments to more than 140 countries. With information about procurements conducted by IPPF, USAID, and UNFPA, including UNFPA third-party procurement, the RHI represents a key resource for commodity managers, advocates, and researchers.
Earlier this month, Coalition Technical Officer Steve Kinzett visited East Africa where he introduced the RHI to participants at the "Reproductive Health in Emergencies" Conference (see reference to article above), as well as to other key supply chain specialists in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. In Uganda, UNFPA and the Ministry of Health were particularly interested in the RHI, and have registered as RHI users. In Tanzania, where the government procures up to 75% of all RH supplies, discussions are underway that may lead to them supplying procurement data to the RHI.
Market Development Approaches Working Group (MDA WG)
During this month’s teleconference, MDA WG members agreed to meet on the first Thursday of each month for the rest of the year. The focal persons for each of the WG’s seven work streams were also asked to finalize their write-ups so they can be posted on the MDA WG page of the Coalition website.
Another critical topic of discussion is the plan, outlined last May, to pilot a total market initiative in a country that has yet to be selected. The initiative aims to hone the concepts entailed in some of the work streams and to facilitate the effective delivery of RH supplies through market segmentation. Lessons learned will be documented and disseminated for advocacy and replication purposes. On July 1-2, Patricia Mengech (USAID), Jeff Barnes (Abt Associates), Joan Robertson (Constella Group), Lester Chinery (IPPF), and Ben Light (UNFPA) will meet in Washington, DC to further develop this initiative. For more information, please contact WG Leader, Ben Light.
Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)
This month, the RMA WG has continued the momentum generated at last month’s membership meeting, by getting agreement on the dates of teleconferences to address two RMA work streams. On Wednesday, July 9, Carmen Coles of USAID will chair a teleconference to discuss the translation, dissemination, and use of the Advocacy Toolkit, which will soon be posted on the Coalition website. A second teleconference will be held later in the month to focus on the understanding of the Supply Gap analysis as a first step toward identifying a global ask. Contact Mercedes Mas de Xaxas for more information.
Project RMA: IPPF Member Associations (MAs) have begun the process of holding planning retreats to develop campaign strategies in all six of the Project’s focus countries. Profamilia, Nicaragua held its first Project RMA network strategy meeting in June. The two-day event, attended by a number of civil society partners, sought to identify the problems facing RH supplies and develop an advocacy plan to address them. Although contraceptive prevalence in Nicaragua is high (66%), poor and marginalized groups experience severe obstacles to accessing contraception. There is concern that the proposed USAID phase-out will create a massive supply gap, especially if the Government does not increase its current allocation of approximately $190,000 to supplies.
A mapping exercise carried out as part of the Profamilia meeting provided an overview of the availability and accessibility of contraceptives by method; the political, legal, and budget decision-making processes involved in supply chain management; and an overview of Nicaragua’s key supply donors. The results informed a series of brainstorming and information gathering exercises to develop a strategy for the campaign.
IPPF MAs in Uganda and Tanzania have scheduled their planning retreats for July, and Mexico and Ghana’s will be held in August. Contact Sarah Shaw, Resource Mobilization Officer at IPPF, for more information.