September 2009 in Review
In the spotlight
Y ahora en espaƱol

Por primera vez, nuestros socios hispanohablantes pueden acceder regularmente a las noticias y actualizaciones de la Coalición en su propio idioma. Este mes, la Secretaría ha lanzado nuestro Web en español, accesible a través de la página principal del sitio en inglés o por la nueva dirección: Este lanzamiento recoge la traducción de los dos primeros niveles de la arquitectura del sitio Web, así como de todos los enlaces accesibles desde la página de inicio. La versión española del sitio Web ha sido lanzada para coincidir con dos eventos que se llevarán a cabo en Santiago de Chile a principios de octubre. El primero es el taller de abogacía organizado por Project RMA conjuntamente con la Red de Salud de las Mujeres Latinoamericanas y del Caribe. El segundo es la Conferencia Regional de América Latina y el Caribe CIPD+15.

Animamos a los miembros hispanohablantes a compartir noticias y actualizaciones en español relacionadas con los suministros de salud reproductiva para que las publiquemos en el sitio Web. Con esta traducción, el sitio Web de la Coalición está ahora disponible para nuestros miembros en inglés, francés y español. Para obtener más información sobre la versión española, por favor póngase en contacto con Gloria Castany.

Website now available in Spanish

Our Spanish speaking partners will, for the first time, have regular access to Coalition news and updates in their own language. This month, the Secretariat launched the Coalition’s Spanish-language website, which readers can now access either via the site’s English homepage or at the new address: The launch brings online the first two levels of the website’s navigational architecture, along with any links accessible from the homepage. The Spanish version of the website has been launched to coincide with two events to be held in Santiago, Chile, at the beginning of October: an advocacy training on reproductive health supplies conducted by Project RMA with the Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Health Network, and the ICPD+15 regional conference for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Spanish-speaking members of the Coalition are encouraged to submit reproductive health supplies-related news items and updates in Spanish for posting on the website. With this translation, the Coalition's website is now available to our members in English, French, and Spanish. For more information on the Spanish site, please contact Gloria Castany.

Coalition on the scene
Jadelle prequalified by WHO

In late September, WHO added a third hormonal contraceptive formulation to their prequalified list of medicinal products under the Reproductive Health Therapeutic category. The Levonorgestrel implant formulation (without inserter) consists of two rods, each with 75mg from Bayer Schering Pharma and is manufactured in Turku, Finland. The product’s trade name is Jadelle, and it joins two other hormonal methods on the list from Bayer Schering Pharma (Microgynon and Microlut).

While this is excellent news for the RH supplies community in general, it must be noted that there are still, to date, only three prequalified hormonal products. The Coalition calls upon pharmaceutical manufacturers to complete the prequalification process for hormonal methods so that everyone can be assured that what they buy meets international quality standards.

Secretariat launches new and improved listserves

To facilitate correspondence among members of the Coalition’s Working Groups (WGs) the Secretariat has created three new listserves, each linked to the Coalition’s master database of members. This systems integration will make it easier for the WGs to update their listserves in a timely manner and to ensure the accuracy of the addresses. Working Group members recently received a test email confirming membership on their respective WG listserve(s). Anyone who is a member of a WG but did not receive a test email should contact the Secretariat so the respective database can be updated accordingly. A listserv for the Caucus on New and Underused Reproductive Health Technologies will be established in October.

Linking social marketing in West Africa

This month, the German Development Bank, KfW Entwicklungsbank, hosted a meeting in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, that brought together representatives of the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), social marketing organizations (SMOs) from five West African countries (Burkina, Ghana, Niger, Guinea Bissao, and Benin), USAID|DELIVER, and UNFPA. The objective of the meeting was to initiate a regional network of SMOs and identify areas of cooperation among them, WAHO, and donorsspecifically in the areas of contraceptive demand creation and supply. Major issues on the agenda were the feasibility of a WAHO-administered funding mechanism that would be accessible by SMO’s and partner governments in the region. How the mechanism links with Coalition-supported funding tools such as AccessRH will be considered as the design process moves forward.

Update: AccessRH and Pledge Guarantee for Health

On September 28, Morten Sorensen (UNFPA) and Kevin Starace (UN Foundation) gave a brownbag presentation to Washington, DC based USAID staff on the latest developments of the AccessRH and Pledge Guarantee for Health funding mechanisms, respectively.

AccessRH is an innovative mechanism for procuring reproductive health commodities and managing related information flows. Based on the establishment of a managed inventory of standard products, AccessRH will offer purchasers access to quality reproductive health commodities at favorable prices and with reduced lead times. The mechanism will be open to all public-sector entities, including ministries of health, non-governmental organizations and SMOs worldwide. It will be fully integrated into UNFPA's Procurement Services Branch structure to ensure long-term sustainability, stability, and reliability of service.

An AccessRH website will be established through which users will be able to obtain information on products available under long-term agreements established by UNFPA through competitive bidding, and to initiate orders against those agreements. In the longer term, it is anticipated that purchasers will be able to use the website to place orders directly with suppliers against the UNFPA agreements. Incorporation of the RHInterchange into the design of the platform will ensure continued access to procurement and shipment information from multiple donors and procurement agents.  

To date, five donors have committed to provide financial and technical assistance for the implementation of this program. In addition, UNFPA will provide US$16 million for procurement of the initial inventory of supplies. Implementation of AccessRH is scheduled to begin in early 2010. For more information on AccessRH, please contact Morten Sorensen.

Pledge Guarantee for Health
The Pledge Guarantee for Health (PGH) will provide governments, nongovernmental organizations, and other development organizations with the funding they need to procure health supplies while they wait for dedicated donor financing to become available. This will allow recipients to order supplies when they are needed, rather than having to synchronize procuremet with donor funding and disbursement cycles before placing their orders. The PGH can help eliminate costly emergency shipments of supplies and provide governments and organizations with more control over their procurement processes.

Managed by the United Nations Foundation (UNF), the PGH will begin operations next month. The UNF has already sourced several deals and begun marketing. The UNF will house a small team to focus specifically on this program. Recruitment is underway for a Pledge Guarantee for Health Director. For the first year of implementation, the UNF expects to conduct five to six deals. For more information on the Pledge Guarantee for Health, please contact Kevin Starace.

Highlights from the Working Groups
Systems Strengthening Working Group (SSWG)

Workstream update: SSWG members met via teleconference earlier this month to discuss the newly renamed Professional Development of Supply Chain Managers workstream. Updates were given by representatives from UNFPA, WHO, and Bioforce. Participants also decided to develop a white paper outlining the goals, objectives, and approaches of this workstream. For more information, please contact Kevin Pilz.

Countries at Risk (CAR): The CAR worked this month to provide updated shipment information for 11 countries and to coordinate funding and procurement efforts to supply commodities for countries in need.  Stockouts of male condoms and combined oral contraceptives in the Dominican Republic were relieved this month through shipments provided by UNFPA. Marie Stopes International (MSI) joined the call to report on the stock situation and customs-clearance issues in Sierra Leone. MSI is working with local USAID and UNFPA offices to expedite clearance and prepare for shipments of male condoms, progestin-only pills, and combined oral contraceptives to arrive in country before the end of the year to relieve low stock. UNFPA approved a centrally funded donation to Tanzania for the procurement of implants to relieve a stockout and is looking into providing a small quantity of progestin-only pills until USAID is able to send its next shipment at the end of the year. Through CAR efforts, the World Bank, USAID, and UNFPA are collaborating with their field offices in Bangladesh to come together to support the government in improving their procurement planning and logistics strategy to strengthen family planning programs in country. For additional information contact Kevin Pilz.

Market Development Approaches Working Group (MDA WG)

Washington, DC Meeting: Members of the MDA WG will meet 2–4 November in Washington, DC, to review and finalize an updated workplan for the MDA Working Group. This meeting will be hosted by John Snow, Inc. A meeting agenda will be posted on the MDA web page as soon as it is finalized. As members will be meeting in person, there will be no MDA WG teleconference in November. For more information, please contact Working Group Leader Ben Light.

Resource Mobilization and Awareness Working Group (RMA WG)

Uganda funding update: The Ugandan government budget line for family planning has been increased by $50,000 to $784,000 for financial year 2009-10. Reproductive Health Uganda mobilized their Reproductive Health Supplies Advocacy Network (RHSAN) to create a media storm highlighting the urgent need for increased government funding for family planning. RHSAN members, the Network of African Women Members of Parliament, campaigned tirelessly over the last 12 months to garner support from fellow parliamentarians and to keep family planning featured prominently in parliamentary debates. 

In addition to increasing funding, RHSAN successfully advocated to reform the Ministry of Health Finance disbursement procedures. Funds to the National Medical Stores are now disbursed annually, rather than quarterly. This reduces the likelihood of delays and enables higher volume contraceptive purchases.

Caucus on New and Underused Reproductive Health Technologies

EC Jamboree: The International Consortium for Emergency Contraception (ICEC) held its annual meeting earlier this month. ICEC brings together NGOs, researchers, industry representatives, and others committed to increasing access to emergency contraception (EC), with a focus on developing countries. At this year’s meeting, a key issue raised was that of low-quality and counterfeit EC products. Twelve years ago, EC was virtually unknown and the ICEC focused on working with industry and other partners to encourage the creation, registration, and marketing of labeled, dedicated EC products. Although there are many products now on the market, it is clear that some may not meet international quality assurance standards. More alarming still is evidence of counterfeit EC products. The ICEC is exploring how to document and respond to these problems, and invites interested Coalition members to join the discussion.

Other issues addressed at the meeting included the upcoming launch of a new EC product (ellaOne®) from HRA Pharma. Anyone interested in learning more about the Consortium’s work can contact Elizabeth Westley, Coordinator, ICEC.

Upcoming Events

1 Oct MDA Teleconference
56 Oct Advocacy training, Santiago, Chile
78 Oct ICPD+15 Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Meeting, Santiago, Chile
28 Oct CAR Teleconference
24 Nov MDAWG Meeting, Washington, DC
1518 Nov International Conference on Family Planning: Research and Best Practices, Kampala. Contact Sabrina Karklins for more information.
20 Nov RH Supplies Coalition Executive Committee meeting, Brussels
25 Nov CAR Teleconference
1-2 Dec SSWG Meeting, Copenhagen
3 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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