November 2010 in Review    
In the spotlight
Ethiopia to host tenth anniversary celebration of Meeting the Challenge!

From 610 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.

Please follow the Coalition’s website for dates, agendas, and the latest information. 

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.

The meeting opened with an overview of Coalition operations and financing, including the ongoing consultation on the Coalition’s Strategic Plan and the recent launch of country profiles on the Coalition's website. Working Group leaders also updated the Committee on their work, including the RMA WG, whose workplan was formally approved. 


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.

Finally, members of the Committee were presented with the results of an analysis by the public relations firm Ampersand Global, which assessed the feasibility and strategic impact of using high-profile champions to advocate for RH commodity security. The results revealed a complex landscape that Committee members agreed required further review and consideration. For more information, contact Coalition Director, John Skibiak.

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 planningtwo 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:

To join the HANDtoHAND Campaign or to view the full list of commitments to date, consult the Coalition’s website or contact John Skibiak, Coalition Director.  

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.

The panel discussion addressed the issue of which MH supplies should be included in future efforts to achieve commodity security and who should lead those efforts. At a follow-on luncheon hosted by PAI, there was agreement on the need to avoid duplication in the MH supplies arena. To that end, the participants agreed to assemble key stakeholders from the fields of MH, RH, advocacy, and supply chain management, with the aim of defining audiences and opportunities for future MH supplies efforts. Click here to access the recorded panel presentations and discussion.

WomanCare Global acquires new contraceptive brands

WomanCare Global (WCG) has acquired the rights to two brands of oral contraceptives from ICONthe 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.

Both products were developed by ICON in partnership with a trusted generic manufacturer and are included in the WHO Interagency List of Essential Medicines for Reproductive Health. WCG, a Coalition member since 2009, provides access to high-quality, innovative, and affordable reproductive health care technologies for contraception, fertility, and pregnancy management. For more information about WCG, visit their website.

Coalition welcomes its newest members

This month, the Coalition welcomes two new members, bringing its membership to 128:

  • Turimiquire Foundation is a US-based non-profit organization that provides family planning, education, and micro-development services to low-income populations of Sucre state in north-eastern Venezuela. 
  • APROFA is Chile’s IPPF Member Association. Established in 1965, APROFA focuses on delivering family planning and sexual and reproductive health services to the most vulnerableespecially the poor, adolescents, and young women. APROFA clinics provide low-cost gynaecological services, and youth-friendly services for adolescents.   
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.

AccessRH & Reproductive Health Interchange (RHI):
UNFPA has transferred US$6 million to AccessRH, which will allow it to establish a revolving fund for orders of RH commodities. The first condom order is scheduled to take place the first week of December. Stock will be based at the manufacturer's site for immediate shipment to AccessRH clients.

The Pledge Guarantee for Health (PGH):
The PGH continues its mission to undertake transactions, develop new deals, and heighten awareness of its role as a financing mechanism for donors, recipients of development aid, and top suppliers. This month PGH launched a revised website, which now includes a web-based quotation system designed to make PGH a natural element of tendering. The PGH is hoping for a US$20 million additional guarantee from a well-known development bank and is also producing policy papers that demonstrate how short-term credit can solve procurement challenges and stock-outs.  For more information, please contact Kevin Starace.

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:

  • MDA Resources, Tools, and Guidelines: improve dissemination and promotion of materials created by the MDA. 
  • Mainstreaming alternative approaches to RH commodity security: focus on demand side financing and convene a panel for the 2011 membership meeting.
  • Facilitating market development of new and underused methods: help integrate new and underused products into markets and facilitate availability at country level.
  • Facilitating the availability of quality generic supplies: develop a quality RH medicines strategy along with a communications strategy for this workstream.
  • Facilitating an enabling environment for the non-public sector to complement the health stewardship role of the state: hold a one-day meeting devoted to moving the total market initiative forward.

Full details of the meeting are available in the minutes. The MDA WG workplan and webpage will be updated to reflect these changes. For more information, please contact Ben Light or Steve Kinzett.

Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)

Semi-annual meeting: On 1011 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:

  • Increase Global South membership in the Coalition. 
  • Identify and take advantage of advocacy opportunities at country level.
  • Improve advocacy for Coalition-led activities such as the HANDtoHAND Campaign, the PGH, and the Istanbul+10 Initiative.
  • Improving communications across the Coalition’s Working Groups.
  • Hold monthly teleconferences.

Full details of the meeting are available from the RMA WG webpage. For more information, please contact Neil Datta, Sandra Jordan, or Steve Kinzett.

Upcoming Events

7-9 Dec Workshop on WHO/UNFPA Prequalification of Female Condoms, Bangkok
20 Dec Professionalization of Supply Chain Managers teleconference, contact Kevin Pilz
11 January Caucus quarterly teleconference
13 January MDA WG teleconference
6-10 June Meeting the Challenge follow-on meeting and Coalition membership meeting, Addis Ababa
28-29 July Professionalization of Logisticians meeting, Geneva


For more details on the above and other events, see the events calendar on the Coalition website.

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