March 2010 in Review
In the spotlight
Next year will mark the 10th anniversary of the conference “Meeting the Reproductive Health Challenge,” better known to many as the Istanbul Conference. To commemorate this event and possibly even rekindle some of the passion it once inspired, the Coalition will devote the coming year to celebrating the legacy of Istanbul. This new initiative, entitled Istanbul+10, seeks to reinforce global attention on the need for reproductive health commodity security. It also aims to serve as a platform for taking stock of our work to date, celebrating our accomplishments, acknowledging our shortfalls, and identifying the challenges before us. Thanks to support from USAID, Istanbul+10 will give rise to a host of different activities, from publications to new advocacy initiatives and the sponsorship of meetings and other events. A new logo has been developed, which the Coalition will use to brand both the initiative and activities it sponsors.
The Secretariat welcomes member input in determining the content and direction of Istanbul +10 activities. To communicate your views, please contact Bonnie Keith.
Coalition on the scene
Coalition comes to Central America
As part of the Coalition’s drive to actively engage with stakeholders at the country level, the Secretariat’s Regional Coordinator, Gloria Castany, visited three of the Coalition’s focus countries in Central America: Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Honduras. The objective of her trip was to familiarize local stakeholders with the Coalition’s work, including the Advocacy Toolkit; identify critical issues to which the Coalition can offer added-value; as well as to expand membership in the region. The trip also served as a basis for strengthening the Coalition’s strategic objectives and forging linkages among the newly formed Latin American Initiative on RH Commodity Security, the Coalition’s three Working Groups, and the Caucus on New and Underused RH Technologies.
Stakeholder visits in each country included representatives from the public and nongovernmental sectors, parliamentarians, and the pharmaceutical and social-marketing sectors. Gloria’s trip report will soon be available on the Coalition’s website and distributed to members of the Initiative via the new Latin American listserv (see below).
Book your rooms now
Hotel rooms are currently on reserve at the Sheraton Kampala and Imperial Royale hotels. Each hotel will release 25 percent of the blocked rooms starting 15 April; please visit the Coalition’s website to book now and ensure you get the room of your choice.
Working Group leaders have announced the dates for their respective Working Group meetings, which will be held during the period prior to the Membership Meeting 27-28 May. More news and information on the Membership Meeting can be found on the meeting webpage or by contacting Francis Fix at the Secretariat.
Latin American Initiative launches new listserv
One of the first outcomes of the new Latin American Initiative on RH Commodity Security is a new listserv. Created by the Coalition Secretariat, the listserv is designed to help Initiative partners pursue issues identified recently in Panama, as well as serve as a basis for strengthening future joint efforts. For more information or to sign up to the listserv, please contact Gloria Castany.
Coalition’s newest members
The Coalition welcomed a shift in membership in March, maintaining our membership at 105:
Highlights from the Working Groups
Market Development Approaches Working Group (MDA WG)
Total Market Initiative takes off in Honduras: On 17-18 March, the Total Market Initiative (TMI) held a Stakeholder’s Workshop on market segmentation in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. More than 30 organizations from the public sector, the NGO sector, the international donor community and the commercial sector met to analyze the Honduran family planning market and identify segmentation strategies to better reach unmet need.
With partial funding from the Coalition’s Innovation Fund, the TMI was launched in April 2009 by Abt Associates and John Snow, Inc. The project conducted quantitative and qualitative research on the Honduran contraceptive market, courted new stakeholders into the contraceptive security process at the national level, expanded participation both from the public and NGO sectors, and brought the commercial sector to the table for the first time.
The one-and-a-half day workshop resulted in the development of 15 possible sector-specific strategies for market segmentation and/or market expansion. The Salvadoran drug manufacturer, Vijosa, for example, reported that the workshop helped them identify unexploited market niches, while Pfizer discovered there are consumers within their target group who continue to source from the public sector. Finally, the workshop reinvigorated the local Contraceptive Security Committee (CIDAIA), which had not met since the June 2009 coup d’état. The Vice Minister of Health, Ms. Miriam Paz, closed the workshop by officially reconvening the CIDAIA and invited all workshop participants to continue the momentum of the Total Market Initiative. For more information, contact Dawn Crosby.
Systems Strengthening Working Group
Pledge Guarantee for Health highlighted in Paris: Earlier this month, the Pledge Guarantee for Health (PGH) was a topic of discussion at the Marketplace on Innovative Financial Solutions for Development held in Paris. Representatives from the United Nations Foundation described four key attributes of the new financing product: improved efficiency, leveraging capacity, country ownership, and transparency. Representatives from Senegal described the delays and uncertainties often associated with donor funding and explained how the PGH could play a crucial role in making capital available in a timely, efficient manner. Mr. Mamadou Moustapha Ba, of Senegal's Ministry of Finance, noted that there are at least 22 donors currently operating in Senegal, making aid flows unpredictable. An initiative such as the PGH, he said, has the potential to resolve this unpredictability.
Update on AccessRH and RHInterchange transition: This month, AccessRH received ISO 9001 certification, signifying that it is established with customer/user experience as a goal, together with a commitment to quality improvement. Additionally, an IT business analyst consultant has been hired to support the software solution development process. Recruitment continues for the operations team and the IT team. Indicators for the mechanism’s monitoring and evaluation plan are being reviewed and should be finalized by May. Finally, AccessRH leaders have held meetings with UNFPA's Management Information Systems and Finance departments to ensure coordination on inventory management.
RHInterchange: Thanks to a regional training by PRISMA, the RHI welcomed 14 new users this month from Ecuador, Honduras, Panama, and Paraguay. Questions on the RHInterhcange can be directed to Mimi Whitehouse.
Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)
Contraceptive security in Southeast Asia: With funding from Project RMA, the Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights has published a report entitled Contraceptive Security and Meeting Reproductive Health Needs in Southeast Asia. The report reviews the provision of contraceptive services and commodities in Southeast Asia and assesses progress in achieving contraceptive security and meeting the reproductive health needs of the region. Download the full report here.
Successful advocacy in Ghana: This month, the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana, Ghana Health Service, and the Interagency Contraceptive Security Committee jointly launched an advocacy campaign aimed to raise awareness about the inadequate funding for contraceptives in Ghana, mobilize policy makers to make up for funding shortfalls, and include family planning in the National Health Insurance Scheme. The launch event was attended by government officials, parliamentarians, donors, civil society, and the media. The event generated extensive coverage through television, radio, and print media.
For more details on the above and other events, see the events calendar on the Coalition website.