March 2007 in Review





In the spotlight




Less than a month to go

With less than a month to go, arrangements for the April membership meeting are nearing completion.  Hotel rooms have been booked, the agenda has been finalized, and the guest list is now complete.  In the coming days, you will receive an electronic copy of all relevant briefing materials, including the agenda and participant list.  Hard copies (including a CD) will also be provided at the meeting itself.

As you know, what began as a two-day event has effectively evolved into a four- and even five-day jamboree—with a reception and separate task force, working group and Executive Committee meetings scheduled throughout the week of April 24.  To the extent possible, we have listed all these activities and events below.  Any updates, of course, will be immediately posted on the Coalition website.

We look forward to seeing you in London.







RHSC on the scene




European Donors Meet at UNFPA

On March 15, representatives of six European donors (Cataluña, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden) met at UNFPA/Brussels to receive an update on the Global Programme to Enhance Reproductive Health Commodity Security. They also learned—some for the first time—about the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition. Speaking on behalf of the Coalition, Margaret Verwijk and John Skibiak described the challenges facing supply security and the efforts underway to address them. They called on the representatives to join the Coalition in advocating for supply security, particularly within the context regional multilateral assistance.  They also discussed the opportunities for highlighting supply security within national RH Strategies, strengthening national health systems, and generating demand for RH services.

Branding the Coalition

Many of you will have noticed a change in the layout of this newsletter. The new design is the product of the Belgian graphics design firm, Ronny Peters bvba. In the coming weeks, you will see the introduction of a host of new materials, including stationery, PowerPoint templates, and set of visual guidelines—all intended to establish a common visual identity and heighten recognition of the Coalition, both internally and externally.

African Condom Alliance

On March 27, Dr. Marion Lieser, Executive Director of the European Centre for Population and Development (ECPD), visited the Secretariat to discuss a new initiative to establish an efficient, innovative condom manufacturing plant in Sub-Saharan Africa. The future ISO-certified plant will meet European environmental and labor standards. It will also be the first of its kind in Africa, capable of manufacturing 120 million high-quality condoms per annum in a region that demands more than 600 million condoms annually. The new venture has generated both interest and debate—particularly over issues such as financial sustainability, knowledge transfer, and the implications of competition from slightly cheaper imports. Those interested in joining the discussion, or just learning more, may do so at the April membership meeting where a lunch session on the topic is scheduled for Friday, April 27.

Coalition Director Visits PATH

In March, Coalition Director John Skibiak, travelled to PATH Headquarters in Seattle where he delivered a staff-wide presentation on the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition and the work of the Brussels-based Secretariat.   John discussed the forces driving the agenda for reproductive health supply security. He also described the Coalition’s mission and the strategies employed by its members to strengthen health systems, heighten awareness of the supply challenge, and engage the total market for reproductive health commodities.







Highlights from the Working Groups (WG)




Systems Strengthening WG

March has been an active month as WG members have reviewed two critical proposals: a revised SSWG workplan and a draft terms of reference (TOR) for a “hybrid” minimum volume/pledge guarantee mechanism proof of concept.  Prepared by Alan Bornbusch and Sandra Rolet, the TOR calls on an expert team to design a mechanism that is technically sound, cost-effective, and that does not duplicate or parallel existing structures for financing and procurement of RH supplies.  To date, WG members’ comments have focused on the composition and qualifications of the expert team, the definition of key design components, potential funding requirements, and the need to avoid stand alone systems.  The WG is hopeful that the TOR can be completed in time for the April membership meeting.

Market Development Approaches WG

During their March 13 teleconference, MDA members focused their discussion on two issues. One was the disappointing response rate to a Country Typology survey, which was sent out last month to a total of 40 donors and implementing agencies.  Suspecting that the poor response rate may have been attributable to the complexity of the questionnaire itself, the Secretariat has chosen to conduct a series of telephone interviews, including a joint teleconference. Anyone wishing to participate should contact Steve Kinzett who will be happy to furnish you with a questionnaire and description of Country Typology.

The second issue for discussion was the WG’s upcoming presentation to the Executive Committee on the concept of demand fulfillment, and its relevance to the work of the Coalition.  As evident in past issues of the newsletter, the concept of demand has been on the minds of many within the group.  Claire Stokes and Ben Light will prepare the presentation and share their initial draft with other group members by April 10.

Country Supply News: Kenya

Recently on the list of “Countries at Risk” – Kenya appears to have escaped its looming stockout problem with an emergency UNFPA shipment of injectables and female condoms, coupled with additional shipments of male condoms by USAID, World Bank, and the Global Fund.  The end of June should see the arrival of 160 million pieces of male condoms, with a further 200 million coming in over the following two years.  The Global Fund will also supplying 900,000 female condoms over the next three years.  More detailed information is available by writing to the Secretariat.







Upcoming events




13 April

MDA Teleconference, 15.00 GMT


25 April

Systems Strengthening WG meeting, IPPF Headquarters, London

RMA Project WG meeting, IPPF Headquarters, London

26 April

Executive Committee meeting, IPPF Headquarters, London

Communication Task Force meeting, IPPF Headquarters, London

IPPF-hosted Reception at The Library: Marriott Hotel, County Hall, London

MDA Working Group Meeting (To be determined)

27-28 April

Membership meeting, London

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