March 2011 in Review
This month, Coalition members, global leaders, and other key stakeholders received invitations to meet this June in Addis Ababa, where the Coalition, UNFPA, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health, and other partners will host a high-level, international conference, Access for All: Supplying a New Decade for Reproductive Health. The gathering will mark the 10th anniversary of the 2001 Istanbul conference, Meeting the Challenge, which many view as having given rise to today’s global RH commodity security movement. The two–day event (22–23 June) will call for a reinvigorated effort to ensure RH commodity security and advance the aims of the Coalition’s HANDtoHAND Campaign.
Access for All will form the centrepiece of a host of supply-related activities taking place in Addis throughout the week of June 20th. These include Working Group and other specialized meetings, as well as the Coalition’s annual membership meeting, which will take place on Friday, 24 June.
Anyone wishing to join in the activities must first pre-register. This can be done via the Coalition’s website or by contacting the Secretariat. The registration process also allows participants to reserve accommodations at the Hilton Hotel and the Intercontinental Hotel. Rooms are limited, so we strongly advise you to book now.
Access to some events is by invitation. Please visit the meeting webpage for all of the latest information, including details on events, agendas, registration, hotels, and logistics. Please contact Francis Fix with any questions.
Coalition on the scene
UNFPA promotes HANDtoHAND to commemorate International Woman’s Day
UNFPA's new Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, chose the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day on March 8th to urge the international community to work toward universal access to reproductive health, including family planning, by supporting the Coalition-led HANDtoHAND Campaign, which aims to put contraceptive choices in the hands of 100 million women.
“UNFPA is proud to be a partner of the HANDtoHAND Campaign in which millions of women are reaching out,” said Dr. Osotimehin. “We will continue supporting this Campaign to put power in the hands of women. Working with other partners, this Campaign can help the world achieve its goal of universal access to reproductive health, including family planning, by 2015.”
Read the UNFPA press release here. For more information on the HANDtoHAND campaign, visit the webpage.
A larger role for HANDtoHAND
Much has happened in the nine months since the HANDtoHAND Campaign was launched. The number of pledges has steadily increased—as has the breadth of those making commitments, from governments to NGOs to the pharmaceutical community.
This month, discussions got underway enabling HANDtoHAND to contribute even more toward global efforts at improving RH and, ultimately, reducing unmet need for modern family planning by 100 million by 2015. On March 23, representatives of DFID, the Coalition Secretariat, Futures Institute, Population Council, and MSI met at the offices of DFID. Their aim was to begin exploring ways to “unpack” the 100 million metric so that HANDtoHAND might play a larger role in helping to shape and encourage new commitments, monitor progress toward the reduction of unmet need, and ensure the fulfilment of existing commitments. Those interested in taking part in these discussions are encouraged to contact John Skibiak at the Coalition Secretariat.
Coalition welcomes the Government of Zambia as its newest member
This month the Coalition welcomed Zambia's Ministry of Health as its newest member, bringing its total membership to 133. The Ministry aims to provide the people of Zambia with equitable access to cost effective, high-quality healthcare as close to home and the family as possible. The Ministry works to achieve more efficient methods of service delivery, better targeted health subsidies, and stronger and closer partnerships with cooperating partners. With its membership, Zambia becomes the fourth African country to join the Coalition.
Please contribute to the first update of the Directory of Hormonal Contraceptives
First developed by IPPF in 1998, the Directory of Hormonal Contraceptives (DOHC) is a free online database, offering searchable cross-referenced information on the brand, composition, country, manufacturer, and type of hormonal contraceptives. Through a grant from the Coalition’s Innovation Fund, IPPF is working to update the DOHC contents, and improve the web interface, navigability of the database, and quality of the data. Extra fields will also be added to the existing categories and will include generics, prescription or over-the-counter access, information on essential drug lists, pre-qualification and SRA status, and links to manufacturers’ websites, among others. The improved information in the updated DOHC will contribute to improving method mix, access to contraceptives, and increasing country ownership. It will also complement the existing tools supported by the Coalition.
IPPF is soliciting input from a broad selection of potential users and contributors to the DOHC. Coalition members interested in participating in the consultation process are asked to contact Cherie Etherington-Smith or Kiran Asif for more information. The current DOHC can be viewed here.
Highlights from the Working Groups
Systems Strengthening Working Group (SSWG)
AccessRH Update: To ensure AccessRH remains focused and customer driven, the AccessRH management team has begun soliciting and reviewing feedback from its first customers. Visual design of the AccessRH website and marketing materials is also well underway and is expected to be completed in June 2011.
New RHI statistics: RHI users now represent 87 different countries, 22 more than November 2009, when RHI management began the transition from JSI to UNFPA. Approximately 61 percent of all users are located in 75 developing countries. Please visit the RHI page here.
Professionalization workstream making strides: Members of the Professional Development of Supply Chain Managers workstream will hold a global positioning and harmonization conference, People That Deliver, from 28–29 June at WHO headquarters in Geneva. Earlier this year, Coalition member Bioforce received an Innovation Fund award to facilitate meeting planning, conduct research, and support developing country participation for this gathering. To date, the following activities have been completed or are underway:
For more information, please contact Kevin Pilz of USAID.
Caucus on New and Underused RH Technologies
Updated product briefs now available: This month, the Caucus released newly updated product briefs for 10 new and underused RH technologies, including EC, HPV vaccines, MVA equipment, and contraceptive implants. The 1–2 page briefs provide concise but comprehensive technical overviews of this group of technologies. The briefs have been reviewed by Caucus and Coalition member organizations and are current as of January 2011. They will be updated on an annual basis. The briefs are available to download here.
For more details on the above and other events, see the events calendar on the Coalition website.