October 2009 in Review
In the spotlight
Coalition announces latest Innovation Fund recipients

The Coalition is pleased to announce three new awards under Round 3 of its Innovation Fund. The aim of the Fund is to further the Coalition’s strategic goals by enabling member organizations from the Coalition’s three Working Groups to undertake activities in line with their Working Group’s objectives and workplans. Recipients are:

  • John Snow, Inc., through the Systems Strengthening Working Group, will identify, develop, and disseminate best practices in supply chain management for community based distribution programs, thereby helping to increase access to family planning products and services.
  • The Concept Foundation, through the Market Development Approaches Working Group, will raise awareness of the WHO Prequalification Program and calculate the potential benefits to manufacturers of becoming prequalified. The initiative will identify hormonal contraceptive manufactures with the best prospects for achieving WHO prequalification in the shortest timeframe and will help them understand the actions, level of investment, and time requirements needed to do so. 
  • John Snow, Inc., through the Systems Strengthening Working Group, will strengthen the effectiveness of AccessRH by exploring factors that drive manufacturers' business practices and market behaviors; this will ultimately shape successful buyer-supplier partnerships. The initiative will also call on the knowledge and skills of the Coalition's Working Groups as a means of increasing global awareness and uptake of the new procurement mechanism. 
Coalition on the scene
Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health looks to the Coalition for lessons

Earlier this month, UNFPA and UNICEF convened a two-day meeting to explore opportunities for improving commodity management structures in the field of maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH). Representatives of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, five member organizations of the Coalition, and a host of other agencies met in New York to reflect upon and refine the Partnership’s Priority Action #3, which relates to commodity management. A detailed scoping paper which drew heavily on the experience and successes of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition helped guide the discussion. In the end, participants agreed on the need for a short list of high-impact MNCH commodities that could serve as an evidence base for identifying commodity management issues and determining appropriate follow-on actions, including collaboration with partners. For more information, contact the Secretariat.

Spreading the word about commodity security

On October 15th, Coalition Director John Skibiak joined Carmen Barroso, Regional Director of IPPF/WH, and Ketchi Ogbuagu, Technical Advisor for Reproductive Health Commodity Security at UNFPA, to discuss the challenges of achieving reproductive health commodity security in post-conflict countries. The session concluded a two-day workshop in Brussels, which marked the end of a joint European Commission/UNFPA/IPPF program to strengthen sexual and reproductive health services in 22 African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries. Two days later, Skibiak travelled to Beijing to attend the 14th Annual Board Meeting of Partners in Population and Development. The meeting provided the context for closer engagement with governments in the Global South–a key objective of the Secretariat for the coming year. Based on these discussions, contacts have already been established with the governments of China, Gambia, Senegal, South Africa, and Tunisia.

Newest member

This month the Coalition welcomes Management Sciences for Health (MSH) as its newest member. MSH's mission is to save lives and improve the health of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people by closing the gap between knowledge and action in public health. Along with its partners, MSH helps managers and leaders in developing countries create stronger management systems that improve health services for the greatest health impact. The arrival of MSH now brings the total number of Coalition members to 98.

Secretariat launches Caucus listserv

To facilitate correspondence within the Caucus on New and Underused Reproductive Health Technologies, the Secretariat has created a listserv linked to our master database of Coalition members. Earlier this month, members affiliated with the Caucus received a test email signifying their membership. Members who did not receive a test email, but who belong to the Caucus, should contact the Secretariat so the database can be updated accordingly.

Highlights from the Working Groups
Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)

Support for RH Supplies in Europe: Countdown 2015 Europe has just published a set of informational briefs that document financial support for reproductive health and reproductive health supplies in 15 European countries. The briefs, which build on the 2008 report Funding for Reproductive Health Supplies, can be accessed on the Countdown 2015 Europe website.

Focusing on supplies in Latin America: Earlier this month, Project RMA hosted an advocacy workshop on reproductive health supplies in Santiago, Chile. The event, which was co-sponsored by the Red de Salud de Mujeres de Latinoamerica y del Caribe took place on the eve of the Latin America ICPD+15 regional meeting. Workshop participants, including the Secretariat’s Gloria Castany, went on to advocate for access to reproductive health supplies during the regional meeting. Their efforts helped lead to the inclusion of a paragraph on universal access to reproductive health supplies in the meeting’s outcome document.

Project RMA Latin America Update: Profamilia, Nicaragua's IPPF Member Association, and other national partners are calling for the creation of a budget line for contraceptives in the 2010 national budget, separate from the budget for essential medicines (where contraceptives are currently housed). The partners believe this will increase transparency and prevent the diversion of resources to other medicines. They have circulated letters to National Assembly members and are working directly with the relevant committees.

Systems Strengthening Working Group (SSWG)

New information on RHI: New data from the ICA Foundation has allowed the RHInterchange to report, for the first time, shipments of the levonorgestrel intrauterine system (LNG-IUS). The data suggest delivery of more than 25,000 units to nine countries between early 2005 and June 2009. Also online are current-year shipments of injectables procured by the Tanzania Medical Stores Department for the Tanzanian Ministry of Health.

Countries at Risk (CAR): During its October teleconference, the CAR group provided shipment and stock updates for ten countries and worked towards resolving remaining challenges in the following:

  • (Ghana) UNFPA and the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT addressed stock shortages and order delays for Micronor, Depo-Provera, female condoms, and Norigynon. They continue to work with field offices and local partners to confirm current levels of stock and process upcoming orders to replenish dwindling stocks as soon as possible.
  • (Kenya) UNFPA is providing a procurement of 3 million cycles of Microgynon until a KfW procurement arrives in 2010. USAID is engaging with the mission and the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT to assess need for additional intrauterine devices and is prepared to respond should more product be needed in the near future.
  • (Sierra Leone) UNFPA donated 3 million male condoms to relieve low stock levels, and the CAR group continues to work with Marie Stopes International and other local partners to resolve import, clearance, and procurement issues, most notably for Microgynon and Microlut. 
  • (Tanzania) The CAR is encouraging UNFPA and USAID field offices to work with the Tanzanian government to resolve the current stock-out of progestin-only pills, which has resulted in UNFPA offering to provide a donation to refill the pipeline until their next procurement is received. Contact Kevin Pilz for more information. 

December meeting update: The SSWG will meet 1-2 Dec at the UNFPA offices in Copenhagen, Denmark. An agenda for this meeting is now available on the SSWG webpage. For more information, please contact Steve Kinzett or David Smith.

Market Development Approaches Working Group (MDA WG)

November meeting update: The MDA WG will meet 2-4 Nov at the JSI offices near Washington, DC. An agenda for this meeting is now available on the MDA WG webpage. For more information, please contact Steve Kinzett or Ben Light.

Caucus on New and Underused Reproductive Health Technologies

Maintaining momentum for the female condom: On October 6-7, forty members of the Universal Access to Female Condoms (UAFC) International Platform met at their annual meeting in Amsterdam to discuss female condom programming and advocacy, focusing on sharing lessons learned through six workshops. Participants developed a number of recommendations, including the need for scale-up of pilot programs, increasing male involvement, and expanding the variety of female condom options. The recommendations also highlighted the importance of building broad networks of support for female condoms, identifying champions, and working with governments to include female condom programs in national policies and funding requests.

Upcoming Events

24 Nov MDA WG Meeting, Washington, DC
1518 Nov International Conference on Family Planning: Research and Best Practices, Kampala. Contact Sabrina Karklins for more information.
19 Nov

Sexual and Reproductive Health Advocacy and Research: Best Practices & Partnerships, Project RMA, Kampala. Contact Mercedes Mas de Xaxas for more information.

19 Nov Working Group Leaders meeting, Brussels
20 Nov RH Supplies Coalition Executive Committee meeting, Brussels
25 Nov CAR Teleconference
1-2 Dec SSWG Meeting, Copenhagen
8 Dec MDA WG Teleconference
30 Dec CAR Teleconference

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

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