November 2010 in Review
In the spotlight
Ethiopia to host tenth anniversary celebration of Meeting the Challenge!
From 6–10 June 2011, members of the RH community will convene in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, to celebrate a decade of struggle and success in ensuring that women and men around the world can choose, obtain, and use the supplies they need to ensure their reproductive health. The gathering will honour the 10th anniversary of the 2001 Istanbul conference, Meeting the Challenge, which many view as having given rise to today’s global RH contraceptive security movement. The celebration will depart from past practice in that it will encompass two separate events: the Coalition’s annual membership meeting, and a high-level gathering where global leaders and other decision-makers will speak out for a reinvigorated effort to ensure RH commodity security and advance the aims of the HANDtoHAND Campaign.
Coalition on the scene
Executive Committee meets in London
On 5 November, the Coalition’s Executive Committee assembled at DFID headquarters for their second semi-annual meeting of 2010. The meeting saw the first transition in Global South representation since the adoption of the Coalition’s current policy on membership and governance. The Committee thanked Dr. Stanley Sonoiya (EAC) and Mr. Harry Joosery (PPD) for their support over the past two years, and welcomed their successors, Dr. Gina Tambini of PAHO and Dr. Placido Cardoso, Executive Director of WAHO.
Much attention was devoted to next year’s celebration of Meeting the Challenge. There was also considerable discussion on how best to maximize the success of the HANDtoHAND Campaign, and what role the Coalition, the Working Groups, and the Secretariat ought to play in doing so over the coming months and years.
Executive Committee welcomes the new UNFPA Executive Director
The Coalition’s Executive Committee congratulated Professor Babatunde Osotimehin, former Nigerian Minister of Health, on the occasion of his appointment as the next Executive Director of UNFPA. In their letter, Coalition Chair Julia Bunting and Director John Skibiak noted that Osotimehin’s involvement in the areas of HIV/AIDS, maternal health, and adolescent reproductive health offered inspiration to those who look to overcome the “… institutional silos that have, for so long, undermined good supply chain management and hindered equitable access to reproductive health supplies.” They also highlighted UNFPA’s recent HANDtoHAND pledge to increase modern CPR by two percentage points per year in 45 target countries by 2015, and also expressed their hope that this pledge signalled “… a redoubling of UNFPA’s commitment to population and family planning—two areas that have, over the past decade, experienced dramatic declines in both funding and programme support.”
UN Secretary General’s Office thanks HANDtoHAND
The Secretariat has forwarded to the UN Secretary General’s office 16 HANDtoHAND commitments received since the September launch of the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. Ms. Rebecca Affolder of the UN Secretary General’s office thanked the Coalition for its efforts, noting that the “HANDtoHAND commitments are both important in their own right and serve as a reminder…of the vital need for improving access to reproductive health supplies, which is so fundamental to the success of the Global Strategy...” She also noted that the commitments would be communicated on the Global Strategy’s new website: www.everywomaneverychild.org.
Defining the way forward on maternal health supplies
On 30 November, the Woodrow Wilson Center, the Maternal Health Task Force, and UNFPA hosted a panel discussion on expanding access to maternal health (MH) supplies. During the lively discussion, which was moderated by Coalition Chair Julia Bunting, participants heard Elizabeth Leahy Madsen present the findings of two PAI assessments in Uganda and Bangladesh, while Melodie Holden discussed the experience of Venture Strategies Innovations in distributing misoprostol at country level.
WomanCare Global acquires new contraceptive brands
WomanCare Global (WCG) has acquired the rights to two brands of oral contraceptives from ICON—the IPPF subsidiary responsible for commodity supply to IPPF member associations. The brands include Roselle®, a combined oral contraceptive pill, and Optinor®, a progesterone-only emergency contraception pill. WCG will make these branded products available to the IPPF global network of member associations in addition to marketing them through the public and private sectors using WCG’s established global supply chain and logistics network.
Coalition welcomes its newest members
This month, the Coalition welcomes two new members, bringing its membership to 128:
Highlights from the Working Groups
Systems Strengthening Working Group (SSWG)
Semi-annual meeting: In the days preceding this month’s meeting of the Executive Committee, 25 members of the SSWG gathered at IPPF’s London offices for their own two-day semi-annual meeting. Discussions kicked off with a review of ongoing workstreams and then moved to brainstorming ways the SSWG could meet the needs of the Coalition and the RH supplies community. The group identified four priority areas for future work: procurement, decentralization, data, and expanding financing systems. Key activities within each area will include greater harmonization of procurement practices, better use of consumption data to manage supplies, and strengthened financing for logistics systems. Minutes of the meeting are available on the SSWG webpage. The group’s workplan will be updated shortly to reflect these changes. For further information, please contact David Smith or Steve Kinzett.
Market Development Approaches Working Group (MDA WG)
Semi-annual meeting: For the third year in a row, the MDA WG held its semi-annual meeting at JSI’s offices outside Washington, DC. In reviewing its workplan, the MDA WG agreed to eliminate some workstreams and consolidate others. They also identified new work, and the group’s updated list of workstreams and related outcomes is as follows:
Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)
Semi-annual meeting: On 10–11 November, 30 members of the RMA WG gathered in London for their semi-annual meeting. Presentations were given on the HANDtoHAND Campaign and the Advance Family Planning project, with subsequent discussions on how the RMA WG could contribute to both, particularly the Campaign. The group identified some new activities for the coming year, including:
For more details on the above and other events, see the events calendar on the Coalition website.