June 2013 in Review        

In the spotlight: Latin America

LAC Forum gathers in Lima
Change and progress were bywords for the second annual membership meeting of the Coalition’s Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) forum. Ninety-four key stakeholders from across nine countries convened in Lima on 10-12 June to put the LAC Forum’s new strategic plan to work.
Three new working groups―on multisectoral collaboration, commitments and resource mobilization―developed action plans around the new strategy. The membership meeting, which was co-hosted by UNFPA/LACRO and Peru’s Ministries for Health and for Women and Vulnerable Populations saw the premiere of a new Spanish-language video on commodity security, Con las Manos Vacias, produced by the same team that gave us Empty Handed in 2010 (see below). The meeting also showcased at least four new initiatives, financed by the LAC Forum’s own “Innovation Fund”, the FondoLAC. For more details, please contact Gloria Castany at gcastany(at)rhsupplies.org, or visit the meeting webpage for information on panels, working group presentations, and agendas.

New film focuses on commodity security in LAC
A new film, produced by Population Action International with financing from the FondoLAC, premiered at the LAC Forum’s recent membership meeting in Peru. Told through the words of Sandra, a 32-year-old Guatemalan midwife, Con las Manos Vacías (Empty Handed) is the story of two women; one who experiences the joy of a planned child; the other, the anguish of an unwanted pregnancy. Con las Manos Vacías has already been featured at the Andean Parliamentarian Forum in Lima, where delegates applauded its message and striking visual imagery. The film can be viewed here.  For more information, please contact Mercedes Mas de Xaxas at mmx(at)popact.org.

Milka Dinev joins Secretariat as new LAC Forum Facilitator

This month, the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition Secretariat welcomed Milka Dinev as its new LAC Forum Facilitator. In her new role, Milka will serve as the principal liaison between the Forum and Coalition Secretariat, providing technical support and logistical back-up in much the same way the Brussels Secretariat does for the Coalition as a whole. Milka will also serve as Interim Chair of the Coalition’s Maternal Health Supplies Caucus.


A seasoned development specialist, Milka brings more than 30 years of experience in programme design, strategic planning, and programme implementation. Peruvian by birth, Milka is fluent in Spanish, English, French, and Bulgarian and holds degrees in business administration, engineering, and gender studies. She will be based in Lima and can be reached at mdinev(at)rhsupplies.org.

Coalition on the scene
CARhs Group & Pfizer work to combat stockouts

The Coalition’s Coordinated Assistance for Reproductive Health Supplies group (CARhs) has spearheaded the transfer of 2M units of Depo Provera, thereby alleviating, and in some cases actually averting, stockouts in five sub-Saharan African countries. The CARhs, established in 2005, brings key commodity suppliers together to address short-term supply crises that periodically befall countries. Every month, CARhs members use an electronic database for procurement planning to review family planning stock data from over 30 countries.


Earlier this year, the CARhs detected some impending and even actual stockouts of Depo Provera. Together with the manufacturer Pfizer,  USAID, the USAID ǀ DELIVER project, and UNFPA successfully coordinated pending orders and existing product stock so as to meet the immediate commodity requirements of the countries in need. As a result of this unprecedented cooperation, five countries secured stocks of Depo Provera and, in so doing, stood to prevent 142,857 unwanted pregnancies, 72 maternal deaths and 952 infant deaths.

TRT communication platforms move to new home
This month, the UN Commission on Life Saving Commodities moved the communication platforms of its 24 Technical Review Teams (TRTs) to a new domain name, LifeSavingCommodities.org. The move completes the process, started late last year, when the Coalition Secretariat set up a temporary online repository for Commission materials. Among these materials were Knowledge Gateway platforms for each TRT and an online portal to access them.  Today, more than 500 people use the platforms on a daily basis to communicate with one another and across technical teams. TRT members were informed last month about the changes and instructed to add the new domain name to any TRT addresses still ending in @knowledge-gateway.org. The transition is expected to be seamless but should you have any queries or problems, please write to support(at)ecs.wa-research.ch.
Scott Radloff leaves big shoes to fill

With the start this October of a new Coalition Chair, many members have noticed the changing face of the Executive Committee as a whole. Its semiannual meeting last April saw the departure of three institutions and the arrival of two new ones.  But we also saw another change. After 30 years at USAID, and seven on our Executive Committee, Scott Radloff, former Director of Population and Reproductive Health at USAID, announced his retirement. 


Since 2006, when he took over the seat vacated by Margaret Neuse, Scott has been a true champion of the Coalition’s work and the cause of commodity security more broadly. A demographer by training, Scott brought both technical skills and a sixth sense as to how to bring out the best in people. In the words of Coalition Director John Skibiak, Scott never held back on a compliment and in so doing, “helped fuel the spirit that enabled our network to grow and, at 240 members, become the largest at what it does”. 


Scott is currently PMA2020 Project Director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He certainly raised the bar in service to the Coalition and leaves behind a true example of commitment to and support of the Coalition Executive Committee. 

PRISMA Toolkit goes from strength to strength
The Innovation Fund, designed to back cutting-edge projects with promise, supported Peru-based organization PRISMA in translating and adapting the PATH-produced Procurement Capacity Toolkit to the Latin America context last year. For PRISMA, the new Spanish-language toolkit has become the cornerstone of its procurement training curriculum. Students are now leaving with a toolkit and technical vocabulary they can use throughout the region. And PRISMA’s training courses continue to fill up, the most recent being this month when 11 representatives of health ministries and NGOs from Argentina, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Mexico and Peru met in Lima for the International Workshop on Procurement of RH Supplies. Please contact Carlos Gutiérrez,  Economic Development Director of PRISMA, at cgutierrez(at)prisma.org.pe for more information.

Upcoming events

24-25 July
FP2020 Country Engagement Working Group Meeting, Washington, DC
30-31 July
FP2020 PM&A Working Group Meeting, Geneva
20-21 Aug
FP2020 Rights and Empowerment Working Group Meeting, Washington, DC
19-20 Sept
FP2020 Reference Group Meeting, New York
23-25 Sept
WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA Meeting for Manufacturers and Diagnostics, Copenhagen
25-27 Sept
Tanzania National Family Planning Conference
07-11 Oct
RHSC General Membership Meeting and satellite events, Delhi
21-22 Oct
Emergency Contraception Jamboree, New York
23-25 Oct
EuroNGOs International Conference, Berlin 
12-15 Nov
International Conference on Family Planning, Addis Ababa


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