June 2010 in Review
In the spotlight
Coalition helps define clarion call for the next half-decade

On June 16th, the Executive Committee endorsed a proposal that calls upon the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition to play a critical role in catalyzing and defining the contribution of the family planning community to the UN Secretary General’s Joint Action Plan for Women’s and Children’s Health, which will form part of this September’s MDG Summit in New York.  This new initiative responds to the extraordinarily favorable environment now in place for refocusing attention on the role of family planning in improving the reproductive health of men and women worldwide.

As the only global reproductive health network to encompass the full spectrum of players in the family planning fieldfrom governments and NGOs to the private and commercial sectorsthe Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition is uniquely positioned to frame our community’s contribution to the Joint Action Plan and to secure the technical and other support required to make this new initiative a reality. 

In the coming weeks and months, key stakeholders, including members of the Executive Committee, will call upon the Secretariat to help undertake three broad sets of activities. The first will be to commission the formulation of a robust and technically sound metric that will serve as a clarion call for mobilizing support on behalf of the Secretary General’s Joint Action Plan. The second will be to call upon Coalition members to pledge themselves to a diverse set of commitmentsfinancing, policy, and/or service deliveryrequired to make that call a reality. And the third will be to ensure that partner commitments are aligned with the UN Secretary General’s overall accountability framework and that they are sustained over the long-term.

In the coming days and weeks, members will be kept abreast of developments as the Coalition and Secretariat move forward on this important activity. In the meantime, everyone is encouraged to begin thinking about how they can play their part. For more information, contact Coalition Director John Skibiak.

Coalition on the scene
WHO prequalifies two more hormonal contraceptives

WHO announced this month that two more hormonal contraceptives have received prequalification status. The products, manufactured by MSD, include an etonogestrel single-rod implant, which many will already know by the brand name Implanon®. They also include a progestogen-only lynestrenol based contraceptive pill marketed under the brand name Exluton®. With the addition of these two commodities, there are now five hormonal contraceptives prequalified by WHO. Please click here to see the complete list of WHO prequalified supplies.

Supplies emerge as recurrent theme at Women Deliver

Reproductive health supplies were a prominent topic at June's Women Deliver conference. The conference, which focused on maternal health and the MDGs, was attended by more than 3,400 advocates from 146 countries. The Coalition was well-represented by its member organizations and members of the Executive Committee. RH supplies, particularly family planning commodities, were a focus of both plenary and breakout sessions. The second day of the conference focused on technologies as a catalyst for social transformation, notably the impact of contraceptives on women’s health and global development. Such interest in RH supplies and the work of the Coalition point to new opportunities for greater collaboration with maternal and child health colleagues. For more information on the conference, please visit the Women Deliver website.

The Secretariat is hiring

In line with the Coalition’s newly expanded scope of work and resource base, the Coalition Secretariat is seeking candidates for two new positions: a Program Officer and an Office Administrator. The positions will be located in the Secretariat’s Brussels office. For full job descriptions and application information, please visit the PATH Career Opportunities page.

Tell us your thoughts!

Recently, Coalition members were invited to participate in an online evaluation survey of the recent Kampala membership meeting held 24-28 May. Whether or not you actually attended the meeting, we need your input as we begin planning for next year’s big event. Please click here to access the anonymous survey, which will remain open through Friday, 9 July. For more information on the actual membership meeting, including the agenda and presentations, please click here.

Coalition welcomes its newest member

This month, Teenage Health Education Centre (THEC) became the Coalition’s 115th member. THEC is a Ugandan NGO focused on improving the sexual and reproductive health of young people through education.

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

AccessRH and RHInterchange (RHI) Update: With its new Outreach Associate now on board, the AccessRH team has begun conducting interviews with selected UNFPA country office staff, manufacturers, and other organizations engaged in RH procurement. The interviews seek to provide input into IT system development and market research. This month also saw:

  • JSI and UNFPA staff develop a plan for migrating the RHI software and data to UNFPA's servers.
  • David Smith, Chief of the Procurement Service Branch (PSB), retired from UNFPA at the end of this month. As newly appointed General Manager of ICON, however, David will continue as SSWG Leader and AccessRH Advisory Board member. PSB Deputy Chief Morten Sørensen will fill David's former post at UNFPA until the hiring process for David's replacement is complete.
Market Development Approaches Working Group (MDA WG)

Total Market Initiative (TMI) on film: Support from the Coalition’s Innovation Fund has made possible a new video that documents the March 2010 TMI workshop in Honduras. The seven-minute video, which was first unveiled at the Coalition’s Kampala  meeting, captures the TMI process, and demonstrates how a structured workshop can move a group of 45 participants toward a common agenda and coordinated action to achieve contraceptive security. Public- and private-sector stakeholders explain how the TMI helped them share information about market needs, recognize complementary strengths, negotiate new partnerships, and reestablish the country’s contraceptive security committee. Please click here to view the video.

AQAS stands behind prequalification: This month, members of the AQAS Advisory Committee met in Geneva with staff of the WHO Prequalification Programme. Their aim was to outline a new initiative designed to encourage greater use of the Programme by generic manufacturers and ensure, through technical support and other means, that more hormonal medicines emerge successfully from the prequalification process. The discussions resulted in a draft concept paper that envisions a future where Coalition members are truly able to limit procurement to products approved either by a stringent regulatory authority or WHO. The paper proposes the creation of a "Quality Reproductive Health Medicines Committee" within the MDA WG, which would host the new initiative. For more details, contact Ben Light or Steve Kinzett.

Upcoming Events

6 July The role of RH Supplies in Achieving the MDGs, Brussels. Contact Steve Kinzett for more information.
9 July Deadline for completion of Kampala Membership Meeting Evaluation Survey
13 July Caucus on New and Underused RH Technologies Teleconference
20-22 Sept UN MDG Summit, New York. Click here for more information.
7 Oct Achieving Universal Access to RH, Brussels. Contact An Huybrechts for more information.

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

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