November 2007 in Review



In the spotlight



Coalition doubles in size

Last month, the Coalition doubled in size with the admission of 16 new member organizations. The first organization to take advantage of the new online registration process was John Snow Inc. (JSI) which, like several other partners, had long been active in the Coalition but had never enjoyed full member status. To initiate the process of building new linkages, the Secretariat will be informing the Working Groups (WGs) of new members expressing an interest in the topical areas most relevant to their work. For more information on the Coalition's membership policy or to register as a member, please click here.


New member registrations

.   Academy for Educational Development (AED)

.   AltaCare

.   The Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University

.   Center for Health and Gender Equity

.   Constella Futures International

.   Deutsche Stiftung fur Weltbevolkerung (DSW)

.   DKT International

.    Family Health International (FHI)

.    The Female Health Company

.    The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

.    John Snow Inc. (JSI)

.    Marie Stopes International (MSI)

.    PATH

.    Prosalud Inter Americana Foundation, Inc

.    The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

.    William and Flora Hewlett Foundation





Coalition on the scene




Seeking nominations for Co-Chair and Southern representation

At its October meeting, the Executive Committee called for the establishment of a sub-committee to oversee the nomination of candidates for key governance posts on the Executive Committee. These posts include one Co-Chair position, which will fall vacant in April 2008, and a new seat designated for the representative of a southern or South-South regional network. In accordance with the Coalition's new membership and governance policy, representatives of any member organization are eligible for these posts. Terms are for two years--in the case of the Co-Chair, a one-year extension is allowed. Contact the Secretariat for more information or to submit nominations.

Securing the Coalition's future

A key objective of the Coalition's Strategic Plan is to ensure the sustainability of the Coalition and its added value. To that end, the Secretariat has contracted former GAVI Alliance senior staff member, Bo Stenson, to develop a multi-year financial sustainability plan. The plan will address the sustainability of the Secretariat and the RHInterchange (RHI) and the feasibility of an independent fund through which other strategic opportunities might be pursued.

Formerly with Swedish SIDA, Stenson brings a wealth of first-hand experience, having served as Acting Deputy Executive Secretary for the GAVI Alliance. He is also currently developing a strategic and sustainability plan for the Partnership for Maternal, Child and Newborn Health. Stenson will review and synthesize relevant experience from other health partnerships; and will conduct interviews with Coalition members. In October, Stenson travelled to Brussels, where he met with the Co-Chairs, Secretariat staff, and other Coalition partners based in Brussels. The final report will be submitted to the Executive Committee in February 2008. Contact the Secretariat for more details.

Next membership meeting scheduled for week of 19 May in Brussels

The European Commission and Secretariat have selected the week of May 19 for next year's membership meeting. The selection of this date was based on member feedback from the last membership meeting evaluation survey, a review of the calendar for potentially conflicting events, and general feedback from the Executive Committee. The exact days of general membership and Executive Committee sessions will be determined in December and communicated in next month's newsletter.

European Commission releases study on commodity security

The European Commission (EC) has released the results of a major study on Reproductive Health Commodity Security (RHCS). The 68-page report offers a technical analysis of the global supply challenge, outlines key recommendations for EC policy formulation, and identifies strategies for effective and sustainable RHCS policies and procedures among EC partner countries. The analysis also draws on two case studies from India and Mozambique.

Readers of the report will find many parallels (and references) to work carried out by Coalition partners. For example, it emphasizes support for the concept of pooled/revolving funds for commodity procurement, expanded public-private partnerships, application of Total Market Approaches, acceleration of the pre-qualification programme, and the active involvement of civil society. A copy of the study is available here.

Coalition participates in francophone virtual conference

Coalition Director, John Skibiak, was one of 10 presenters at the 2nd Virtual Conference on Repositioning Family Planning. Sponsored by USAID, KfW, DSW, and MSH, the web-based forum drew some 300 participants from more than 30 countries--20 in Africa alone. 

In his presentation, John described the Coalition's role in ensuring RH supply security, the key challenges underlying its three strategic goals, and its relevance to Francophone Africa. The presentation drew responses from 15 participants, whose questions touched on such areas as the sustainability of international supply efforts, the role of price subsidies, the need for advocacy at country level, managing the demands of vertical health partnerships, and encouraging local ownership of the supply chain. The presentation, questions, and responses will remain available for viewing online until the end of December.

PPD welcomes the Coalition to its Rabat Membership Meeting

John Skibiak joined country delegates from around the world at the Partners in Population and Development's (PPD) 12th Annual Board and Membership meeting in Rabat, Morocco. Highlighting supply security as one of PPD's five organizational priorities, participants praised a recent initiative by China to provide US$6 million in RH supplies, equipment, and training to six PPD members, including Kenya and Uganda, in the next three years. China also announced its intention to convene a meeting next year of financial ministers and parliamentarians to discuss South-South investments in population and RH.

The meeting concluded with the adoption of a Declaration that reiterated PPD's commitment to expanded access to high-quality generic supplies and their desire for greater collaboration with WHO, UNFPA, and the Coalition. Contact Harry Joosery for more details.

Pharmaceutical industry to improve supply chain

Coalition Technical Officer Steve Kinzett joined representatives of more than 20 pharmaceutical and logistics firms, donors, and technical agencies to explore ways for the private sector to improve access to essential medicines in low- and middle-income (LMI) countries. Convened by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), participants at the one-day event agreed on the outlines of a new initiative to strengthen supply systems for all commodities, shorten "plant to patient" time, and achieve sustainable, long-term impact. Next steps will be to choose pilot countries and finalize the design of training, logistics management, and other commercial and quality assurance activities.

This initiative parallels interest within the Coalition's Market Development Approaches (MDA) WG in integrating supply chain management in the private sector, and links well with the growing dialogue between the WG and RH commodity manufacturers. For further details, contact Steve Kinzett.

Coalition meets Interagency Pharmaceutical Coordination Group

Carolyn Hart of JSI represented the Coalition at the November 13 meeting of the Interagency Pharmaceutical Coordination (IPC) Group. Convened by WHO's Essential Medicines team, the IPC comprises UN-implementing agencies and related multilateral organizations such as WHO, PAHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNDP, UNIDO, World Bank, Global Fund, and UNITAID. Typically, IPC meetings focus on information-sharing with a wide focus on "medicines," including policy and regulatory aspects, standards, procurement and supply chain management, product development, market forces, donor initiatives, health systems, and R&D.

Delegates meet semi-annually for two days, the first of which is open to invited organizations involved in pharmaceutical management. This time, invited guests included the Coalition, Management Sciences for Health (MSH), JSI, and the PEPFAR/Supply Chain Management System (SCMS). Each gave 10-minute presentations on their work and addressed questions about their priorities, current activities, and general policy direction for the next two to five years. For more details, contact Carolyn Hart.





Highlights from the Working Groups


Systems Strengthening Working Group (SSWG)

Countries at Risk (CAR) Group: This month, the CAR issued its annual progress report which reviewed Group activities through September 2007. The report noted the CAR's success at having averted stock-outs in Kenya and Rwanda, but highlighted its limited ability to effectively gauge the status of country stock status worldwide. Part of the problem derives from the fact that the CAR's access to relevant information is largely limited to the members' own data-gathering systems. 

The report also noted weaknesses related to the fact that the resources available to the CAR are limited to what the members themselves can provide. However significant these resources may be in monetary terms, the CAR members' ability to apply them is often restricted by their own policies and priorities. The report recommends, therefore, that consideration be given to broadening the CAR's resource base (in cash or kind) so that it might respond more flexibly to a broader range of supply shortages. SSWG members are currently researching the "South Africa Buffer Stock Project", which has been used to assure emergency supplies of ARVs. Members are encouraged to send any other ideas to Alan Bornbusch. The CAR will next meet on December 20.

RHI: This month, Jane Feinberg presented a poster entitled "RHInterchange: A tool for implementing reproductive health commodity security" at the American Public Health Association conference in Washington, DC, where approximately 14,000 public health professionals gathered to discuss "Politics, Policy & Public Health." The abstract can be found here.

Market Development Approaches Working Group (MDA WG)

Ten members of the MDA WG met by teleconference on November 29 to review progress on the seven workstreams that comprise their newly developed workplan. One of the workstreams focuses on the long-term WG aim to facilitate a more conducive environment in-country for the private sector. This issue is already leading to strong inter-agency collaboration within the WG--particularly between USAID and UNFPA.

The group also discussed the development of an innovative user-generated knowledge-sharing tool--a type of MDA "Wikipedia". A sub-group will work on this and report back to the WG at their next teleconference on January 15. Another subgroup was charged with working on MDA WG Management and Structure and developing a plan for discussion during the first quarter of 2008. For more information, contact MDA WG leader Ben Light.

Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)

The venue and dates of Project RMA's first Annual Global Civil Society Meeting, originally scheduled for January 2008 in Addis Ababa, have been changed. The new dates will be announced shortly.

Meanwhile, Project RMA has announced its list of priority countries, namely Burkina Faso, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Bangladesh, Mexico, and Nicaragua. Countries were selected in a collaborative effort, based on need and readiness for supply advocacy, existence of civil society networks and convergence with complementary work undertaken by other Coalition members, partners, WG initiatives and the Global Programme. The list of countries is pending final confirmation by the IPPF regional Office and Member Associations.

Finally, Project RMA will also announce within the next two weeks the recipients of its first round of small grants to global and regional NGO networks to engage in RH supplies advocacy. This support is designed to foster partnerships with regional networks in Africa, Asia Pacific, and Eastern Europe and support their efforts to either initiate or further advocacy among their membership organizations and regions. For more information on the RMA WG, contact Caroline Jane Kent.





Upcoming events




3-6 December

Project RMA regional meeting; Kampala, Uganda



20 December

Countries at Risk teleconference; 10.00 EST

15 January

MDA Working Group teleconference; 11.00 EST

19 May (week)

Coalition Membership and Executive Committee Meetings; Brussels, Belgium

18-20 June

Reproductive Health in Emergencies Conference 2008; Kampala, Uganda
(see for more details)






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