June 2009 in Review
In the spotlight
Coalition announces latest Innovation Fund recipients
The Coalition is pleased to announce four new awards under Round 2 of its Innovation Fund. The aim of the Fund is to further the Coalition’s strategic goals by enabling member organizations from the Coalition’s three Working Groups to undertake activities in line with their Group’s objectives and workplans. Recipients are:
Coalition on the scene
2009 Annual Membership Meeting
On June 4th and 5th, 130 participants from around the world assembled in London for the Tenth Membership Meeting of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition. Hosted by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), with support from IPPF and Marie Stopes International, the meeting capped a week’s worth of events, including gatherings by the Coalition’s three Working Groups, the Caucus on New and Underused RH Technologies, the Coalition’s Executive Committee, and the AccessRH management team.
More detailed information on the week’s events, including presentations, minutes and a participant list are available on the Coalition’s website.
Welcome Julia Bunting, new Coalition Chair
The Coalition extends a warm welcome to Julia Bunting, who has been unanimously elected by the Executive Committee to serve as the Coalition’s new Chair. Julia is currently Team Leader of DFID’s AIDS and Reproductive Health Team. Since joining DFID in 2000, Julia has led the agency’s work in building international statistical capacity and spearheaded the British government's efforts to secure the new reproductive health target in the MDGs. Julia is a founding board member of the Health Metrics Network and has been involved in numerous international global health initiatives, including Prime Minister Stoltenberg of Norway's Global Campaign for the Health-related MDGs and the Network of Global Leaders on MDGs 4 and 5.
Julia replaces Wolfgang Bichmann who served as Coalition Chair for three years. Under Wolfgang’s leadership, the Coalition grew, prospered, and underwent changes that few could have imagined when he and his Co-Chair, Margret Verwijk, assumed their posts in 2006. The Coalition extends its sincere thanks Wolfgang for his many years of dedication to the Coalition and looks forward to working with him as representative of KfW Development Bank.
Fond farewell to Antoinette Gosses
This month, we also bid a fond farewell to Antoinette Gosses, who has represented the European Commission on the Coalition’s Executive Board since 2007. Seconded to the Commission by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Antoinette has championed the cause of RH commodity security and successfully heightened the profile of the European Commission within the Coalition. She was instrumental in getting the Commission to host last year's Ninth Annual Membership Meeting; she has been an active member of the Innovation Fund's proposal review committee; and she played a key role in making possible the Commission’s award of €2.5 million towards AccessRH. We thank Antoinette for her straight talk, hard work, and dedication, and we wish her the best of success in the future.
This month the Coalition welcomed two new members, bringing our membership to 93.
WHO RH Essential Medicines Forum
This month, the WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research (WHO/RHR) convened an online global discussion forum, "Access to RH Essential Medicines and Contraceptives: Why is it so Difficult to Achieve?”. The discussion took place on the Knowledge Gateway, an electronic platform that connects people around the world working in the fields of health and development through communities of practice and online discussions.
From June 15 to 26, nearly 400 participants from 74 countries addressed a number of provocative topics relating to supply security. They debated, for example, whether current policies are roadblocks to procurement, whether product quality is an issue, how to better predict stock needs, and how to stop stockouts. A total of 100 contributions on these topics were received--nearly 80 percent of which came from participants in developing countries.
The issues identified in this online forum will be discussed in more depth in a multi-country videoconference, in subsequent online discussions, and in an online resource centre, which is currently under development. See a summary of each day's discussion and expert opinions by signing up online. For more information please contact Katie Richey.
Pill Check Week reveals serious stockouts in Kenya
From June 22 to 26, Coalition member HAI Africa and other partners in the Stop Stock-outs campaign conducted spot checks of public health facilities in Kenya, assessing the availability of ten essential medicines, including two RH medicines. The rapid survey revealed a looming crisis for essential medicine supplies in Kenya, with major stockouts throughout the country. Stop Stock-outs is advocating for the government to assess the situation and respect its stated commitment to allocate at least 15 percent of the country's budget to health. A press release is available here. Visit the Stop Stock-outs website for the most up to date information as results continue to come in.
Highlights from the Working Groups
Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)
Advocacy Toolkit Training of Trainers. From June 8th to 11th, 25 experienced RH advocates met in London for an intensive, participatory training-of-trainers on the Advocacy Toolkit. Participants increased their understanding of the processes, opportunities, and strategies to advocate for and reposition RH supplies as a major contributor to improved health and well being. Participants identified RH-supplies advocacy objectives of relevance to their country contexts and learned about tailoring and delivering effective messages to different target audiences. Participants acquired the skills necessary to be able to conduct capacity building trainings on RH supplies advocacy to other advocates. Outcomes include planned advocacy trainings in Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, and Bali. For more information, contact Sandra Jordan or Sabine Weber.
Project RMA. This month, Project RMA released a new publication entitled "Reproductive Health Supplies in Six Countries: Themes and Entry Points in Policies, Systems and Funding." The report and its associated country-specific case studies focus on the unstable global environment for RH supplies and call for renewed attention to RH supplies to avoid putting the health of millions of women at risk.
While attending the Coalition’s Membership Meeting, Dr. Karen Hardee, Vice President of Research at PAI, was interviewed by the BBC and discussed the issue of RH supplies. During the interview, Karen highlighted the impact of rapid population growth and the need for government commitment to family planning, as well as the difficulties associated with maintaining contraceptive security. The full interview can be accessed here.
Systems Strengthening Working Group (SSWG)
Countries at Risk (CAR). This month the CAR group provided shipment information for 24 items in response to requests from seven countries. UNFPA shipped an emergency order to Ghana to relieve a central-level stockout of IUDs and expedited a shipment of emergency contraception to Paraguay. During its monthly teleconference, the CAR discussed Kenya's condom financing, shipment pipeline, and potential for stockouts, as well as the impressive efforts now underway by Kenyan stakeholders to improve RH commodity security. The group also examined financing delays in the Dominican Republic, which have resulted in a number of contraceptive stockouts (the country has requested a mechanism similar to the Pledge Guarantee for Health). Finally, the CAR recommended a series of actions to resolve a progestin-only pill stockout in Tanzania; and possible support to Uganda to relieve its central level stockout of Microgynon.
During the teleconference, the CAR also discussed its membership policy and agreed to review that policy as new partners begin to express interest in participating. For more information, contact Kevin Pilz.
Reproductive Health Interchange (RHI) in motion. The RHI now includes animated data, using Google's Motion Chart (a component of Hans Rosling's Trendalyzer software). Visit the RHI website to check it out: select the "Motion Chart Visualization" in the Select Report section, refine your criteria, and then click “Generate Chart” to see your data in motion.
For more details on the above and other events, see the events calendar on the Coalition website.