October 2011 in Review        
In the spotlight

German government commits to HANDtoHAND


The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is the latest in a growing number of bilateral donors to pledge to the HANDtoHAND Campaign. Following on the announcement made by Dr. Ralf Schröder, First Counsellor for the German Embassy to the African Union, during the Access for All conference in June, the German government has pledged to commit an additional €400 million in funding for maternal, newborn, and child health programming through 2015.

As part of this pledge, BMZ has established an Initiative on Rights-based Family Planning and Maternal Health, which—among other objectives—seeks to improve knowledge and acceptance of modern family planning methods as well as to increase their availability. The Initiative will double BMZ's annual funding for reproductive health and family planning, from €40 million in 2008 to €80 million moving forward. In addition, the Initiative will provide a more strategic focus for German efforts in reproductive health, including an emphasis on long-acting contraceptive methods and health systems strengthening.

Coalition on the scene
AccessRH launches online portal to consolidate

This month, AccessRH went online with the launch of a new web-based portal MyAccessRH.org. Hosted by UNFPA, the new site offers access to both the RHInterchange and the AccessRH catalog of products and pricing, including information on quality-assurance policies, standard lead times, and manufacturer contacts. It offers both governments and NGOs the information they need to plan and budget for procurement. Since AccessRH was launched in early 2010, it has improved access to high-quality, affordable contraceptives with favorable delivery terms. For more information, please contact Campbell Bright at UNFPA.

Empty Handed raises awareness of need for RH supplies in Canada

Building on the success of a fellow Innovation Fund awardee, Action Canada for Population and Development (ACPD) recently organized a series of special meetings for Canadian parliamentarians that featured the PAI-produced documentary Empty Handed. The events, which took place 4–6 October, also featured the testimony of one of the "stars" of the film, the Hon. Sylvia Ssinabulya, Member of Parliament from Uganda. Many will remember the Hon. Ssinabulya from her impassioned introduction to the Access for All session on country ownership. By utilizing the powerful stories of Empty Handed, ACPD emphasized the critical importance of advocacy for the inclusion of RH supplies on the development agenda. For more information, please contact Sandeep Prasad, Executive Director of ACPD.

Executive Committee meets in Seattle

As 2011 draws to a close, the Coalition finds itself uniquely positioned to continue pursuing its core goals and objectives, but also to address a host of new opportunities and challenges, many of which were identified at the June Access for All conference. As the Coalition’s current funding cycle will conclude at the end of 2012, the time has come to begin formulating a vision for the future—a vision that can shape the Coalition’s priorities and workplan through 2015.


From 12–14 October, the Coalition’s Executive Committee met in Seattle at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to begin this visioning process. While some time was allocated for routine business, the bulk of the three days was devoted to reflecting upon the Coalition’s past, present, and—most importantly—future. Guest speakers provided a more in-depth understanding of potential growth areas (e.g., working with pharmaceutical manufacturers to expand access, achieving the goals of HANDtoHAND, quality assurance of supplies, confronting stockouts, and linkages with the maternal health community) and their potential for adding value to the Coalition and its members. The results of these discussions will inform the formulation a new proposal that defines the Coalition’s work through 2015. Meeting minutes are currently being drafted, and an executive summary will be posted online next month. For more information, contact John Skibiak.

DSW hosts symposium on RH supplies at World Health Summit

Coalition members were well represented at last month's Word Health Summit in Berlin. In a session hosted by DSW and co-chaired by its Executive Director, Renate Baehr, and PAI consultant Mercedes Max de Xaxas, panelists John Skibiak, Morten Sorenson (UNFPA), Herbert Mona (DSW), and Joachim Schmitt (BMZ) were joined by Sharon Camp from the Guttmacher Institute in a rich discussion on the global situation for RH supplies. The panelists addressed challenges at the national and global levels, and why investing in RH supplies pays off in dividends for other development priorities, such as maternal and child health. Among many other key messages and highlights was the point made by Joachim Schmitt that getting the attention of policymakers is not always just about evidence, but also about seizing unique opportunities (such as with the world's population reaching 7 billion). For more information on the symposium, please contact Coalition Director John Skibiak.

Strong presence for supplies on the agenda at Dakar conference

A host of events focusing on RH supplies have been planned during the days leading up to the 2011 International Conference on Family Planning in Dakar, Senegal. These include the following:

  • SECONAF, the Coalition's francophone forum, will meet on Monday, 28 November from 12:00 to 6:00pm to introduce the group and its aims to interested parties. Also on the agenda is a review of results from a retrospective study on key findings from major francophone conferences on contraceptive security over the past several years. The study recommendations will help shape the groups’ priority activities at regional and country levels. Furthermore, USAID|DELIVER’s preliminary work on a regional early-warning system will be presented.
  • The Coalition will host a pre-conference event on 29 November from 8:30am to 12:00pm. The meeting will highlight RH commodity security and outcomes from the Access for All conference, including the multimedia presentation, the conference Call to Action, and the way forward over the next decade.
  • The RMA WG will meet on Tuesday, 29 November from 1:00 to 5:00pm. The meeting will focus on RMA’s expanded role in the HANDtoHAND Campaign as well as the group’s workplan and strategic objectives for 2012.
  • On Thursday, 1 December, the Coalition Secretariat will introduce a hands-on workshop on data visibility and coordination to support contraceptive security. This event is hosted by the Implementing Best Practices Initiative as part of a two-day series of interactive sessions.

In addition, Coalition partners will lead several supply-related panels and presentations during the main conference, including a panel on contraceptive security chaired by Julia Bunting (DFID) and Jagdish Upadhyay (UNFPA) on Friday, 2 December (9:30 to 11:00am). For more information on the auxiliary sessions or to notify the Secretariat of other supplies-related events taking place throughout the week, please contact Bonnie Keith.

WHO adds another hormonal contraceptive to prequalification list

In October, WHO added the two-month injectable contraceptive Noristerat to its list of prequalified products. Noristerat (200 mg Norethisterone enantate), manufactured by Bayer Schering Pharma of Germany, is the latest in a series of RH commodities to be prequalified by the WHO, bringing the total number of hormonal contraceptives to receive the designation to ten. Please click here to see the complete list of WHO prequalified supplies.

Secretariat welcomes Florian Eisele as Senior Communications Advisor
To provide professional oversight in shaping the Coalition’s communications agenda, both internally and among broader audiences, the Secretariat has enlisted the support of Mr. Florian Eisele as a senior communications advisor. Florian will oversee the expansion of the Coalition’s communications efforts, including the HANDtoHAND Campaign, as well as update and expand the Coalition’s Communications Plan. In addition, he will help to shape the post of the new Communications Officer, which will be filled in early 2012. His background includes more than ten years of communications experience with a host of organizations, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the World Bank; and the European Commission. Florian can be reached directly at this address. For more information on the Communications Officer position, please visit the following link.
Coalition welcomes two new members in October

In October, the Coalition welcomed two new members, bringing total membership to 155. Learn more about them by clicking on the following links:

Highlights from the Working Groups
Joint Working Group effort on task-shifting for family planning underway

Significant strides have been made since the RMA WG first raised the issue of task-shifting for family planning services at the Access for All conference. A new inter-Working Group taskforce spearheaded by Leo Bryant (MSI) has been established to produce a WHO publication on task-shifting for family planning. As part of this effort, a WHO evidence review will take place between now and January 2012. Anyone with relevant data on task-shifting for family planning is invited to contact Leo Bryant.

Systems Strengthening Working Group (SSWG)

Coordinated Assistance for Reproductive Health Supplies (CARhs): To ensure effective supply-chain management, this month saw the CARhs respond to nine requests from six countries. Highlights include:

  • In Zambia, a potential overstock situation was avoided by postponing a shipment of IUDs.
  • In Nigeria, the CARhs identified strategies for confronting a bottleneck in the MOH’s clearing process that has led to millions of dollars worth of RH supplies being stuck at the ports.

For more information, please contact Joe Abraham.

Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)

RMA WG elects new co-chairs: Leo Bryant (MSI) and Martin Ninsiima (Advance Family Planning) were recently elected as Co-Leaders of the RMA WG, replacing Sandra Jordan (USAID), who is stepping down after many years of dedicated service. Leo and Martin will assume their new posts in mid-November.


Leo has nearly ten years of experience working in advocacy, campaigning, media, and research for NGOs. He has a successful track record of donor policy change, working on major campaigns including Make Poverty History, and has chaired the UK SRHR Network for two of its most successful and impactful years. Martin works for the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs in Uganda and coordinates Advance Family Planning project activities in Uganda. He works with local stakeholders to increase policy commitments for family planning services by the government, manages internal partner communication, and helps to build the capacity of local advocates to use innovative approaches and tools.

Upcoming Events

8 NovMDA Teleconference
9 NovSECONAF Teleconference (DELIVER Early-Warning System)
10 NovWebinar on McKinsey Supply Chain Assessment, Washington, DC, and virtual
14 NovMaternal Health Supplies Task Force meeting, Washington, DC
15 NovSECONAF Teleconference
28 NovSECONAF meeting, Dakar
29 NovCoalition auxiliary event, Dakar
29 Nov     RMA WG meeting, Dakar
1 DecIBP Initiative meeting, Dakar
29 Nov2 DecInternational Conference on Family Panning, Dakar


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

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