September 2010 in Review
In the spotlight

This month began with high expectations for the Coalition’s new HANDtoHAND Campaign: the crafting of core messages, the launch of new web- and splash-pages, a call for member commitments, formal recognition of those commitments by the UN Secretary General’s office, and a seat at the 22 September launch of the new Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of Coalition partners everywhere, all these expectations were metand more. On 22 September, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton caught the world’s attention by announcing a five-year public-private global alliance among USAID, DFID, AusAID, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundationan alliance that will, among other things, work toward reducing unmet need for family planning by 100 million womenthe core of the HANDtoHAND Pledge. 

As we look to the future, there is growing optimism that the flow of commitments that began on the eve of 22 September will continue unabatedwith pledges arriving from both Coalition and non-Coalition members alike. Bangladesh’s commitment to the Global Strategy to halve its unmet need for family planning by 2015, for example, will be critical in reducing unmet need globally. The same is also true for Afghanistan, which commits to increase contraceptive prevalence from 15 to 60 percent; Haiti, which commits to reduce unmet from 38 to 10 percent; and Yemen, which promises to provide free contraceptives. These commitments, along with those of both governmental and non-governmental organizations, philanthropic groups, civil society, and members of the business community are contained in a Summary Statement that can be accessed via the UN Global Strategy link on the HANDtoHAND webpage. For more information on the Campaign, contact the Coalition Director John Skibiak.

Coalition on the scene
Keep sending your pledges!

Since the 22 November launch of the HANDtoHAND Campaign and Global Strategy, pledges have been received from Coalition members Advance Family Planning, Bayer Schering Pharma, Merck MSD, UNFPA, and the Population Council—all of which can be viewed on the Coalition’s website. Together, these statements promise increased production of commodities, deeply discounted prices, development of new technologies, and increased political commitment from the Global South.

Any organization that has not yet submitted a commitment is encouraged to do so. As we all know, reducing unmet need will require a broad range of interventions—from expanding method choice, to promoting political support, to increasing resources. HANDtoHAND pledges, therefore, provide a broad framework for multiple stakeholders to meet these diverse needs. For more information on preparing or submitting commitments, please consult the Coalition website or contact Coalition Director, John Skibiak.

Istanbul +10 Task Force Launch

Next year will mark the tenth anniversary of the 2001 conference, Meeting the Reproductive Health Challenge. To help shape the way we celebrate this anniversary and apply its lessons in the years to come, the Secretariat has sought out advice from Coalition members across all three Working Groups and two technical Forums. This month, members of the newly constituted Istanbul+10 Task Force met for the first time to formulate a set of recommendations on the venue and theme of next year’s annual membership meeting and the activities that could highlight and build on the lessons of the past decade. For more information on the new Task Force or Istanbul+10, please contact Bonnie Keith.

Reminder: Please take the Strategic Plan survey

Earlier this month, all Coalition members were invited to participate in a survey on the Coalition’s Strategic Plan. As stated in last month’s newsletter, the Coalition Secretariat is undertaking a planned three-year consultation on the Coalition’s Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan informs the Coalition’s strategic goals and subsequent activities, and how the Coalition measures effectiveness. As a member of the Coalition, your input is critical to ensure the Coalition meets the needs of the RH supplies community. Please click here to take this 10-minute survey. For further information on the Strategic Plan consultation or to provide additional comments on the survey, please contact Steve Kinzett.

Uganda commits additional funding for RH supplies

At the Coalition’s annual membership meeting in Kampala, the Government of Uganda announced the receipt of a US$130 million, five-year loan to improve the country’s health infrastructure. Approximately US$30 million of the loan was earmarked for maternal and reproductive healththe result of two years of tireless advocacy by the Network of African Women Members of Parliament, Ugandan Chapter (NAWMP) and the RH Supplies Advocacy Network (RHSAN). Now these organizations have even more reason to celebrate: Reproductive Health Uganda, NAWMP, and RHSAN argued strongly for 40 percent of the maternal health portion to be set aside for RH supplies, and the Ministry of Health actually topped their request by agreeing to allocate 63 percent (US$18.9 million) for RH supplies–23% more than their initial request. For more information on this successful advocacy effort, please contact Sarah Shaw.

Supplies on the maternal health agenda

Reproductive and maternal health supplies featured prominently at the recent Global Maternal Health Conference held in New Delhi, India. As part of a panel on improving access, Elizabeth Leahy Madsen of PAI presented the Bangladesh and Uganda case studies on maternal health supplies produced with support from the Coalition’s Innovation Fund. PAI also seized the opportunity to screen Empty Handed as a side event to the conference. During a panel on implementation of research, lack of supplies was identified as a key contributing factor to maternal mortality. Conference attendees noted interest in a larger-scale movement to standardize information about maternal health supplies, based on the experience derived from initiatives in reproductive health commodity security.

WHO prequalifies an additional hormonal contraceptive

WHO announced this month the prequalification of yet another hormonal contraceptive. The product, manufactured by Organon, is an ethinylestradiol plus desogestrel combined contraceptive pill marketed under the brand name Marvelon®. With the addition of this commodity, there are now eight hormonal contraceptives prequalified by WHO, including two formulations of combined oral contraceptives. Please click here to see the complete list of WHO prequalified supplies.

Coalition welcomes its newest members

This month, the Coalition welcomed four new members, bringing our total membership to 125.

  • NAARI AG is a Swiss pharmaceutical company that aspires to be a world leader in the area of female healthcare, providing medical solutions from puberty to menopause. They have formulation manufacturing facilities in Rudrapur (India) complying with FDA requirements and certifications, with special emphasis on quality and customer satisfaction. 
  • Population Media Center (PMC) strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies, such as serialized radio and television dramas where characters serve as role models for positive behavior change. 
  • West African Health Organization (WAHO) is a specialized agency of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). It was formed in 1987 to ensure the highest possible standard of health in the sub-region through harmonization of policies, pooling of resources, and cooperation. With its headquarters in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, WAHO is the leading health authority in the sub-region, serving ECOWAS member states Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. 
  • Bixby Center for Population, Health, and Sustainability is dedicated to slowing population growth within a human rights framework by addressing the unmet need for family planning. Based at the University of California, Berkeley, the Center seeks to improve the health outcomes of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable women and their families.
Highlights from the Working Groups
Systems Strengthening Working Group (SSWG)

AccessRH and RHI Update: Mr. Eric Dupont has been selected as the new Procurement Services Branch (PSB) Chief at UNFPA and will join the office on November 1, 2010.  Eric has a strong procurement background, having previously served as acting Deputy to the Director of Procurement at UNOPS in Copenhagen. As part of his duties, Eric will be providing leadership and support to AccessRH and RHI integration. The physical migration of RHI from JSI’s offices to UNFPA/New York began this month and is already 75 percent complete. As planned, it will be "turned on" for the outside world by the end of 2010.

Coordinated Assistance for Reproductive Health Supplies (CARhs):  In September, the CARhs provided information on upcoming shipment information to assist RH supply chain management for 23 requests in 13 countries. 

  • Kenya: The World Bank provided updates on FC2 procurements being carried out by UNFPA and on policy discussions regarding the provision of female condoms. 
  • Nigeria: UNFPA expedited an order of the progestin-only pill Exluton® to avert a public-sector stock-out.  
  • Malawi: USAID has postponed shipments of Microgynon® and female condoms to prevent significant overstock.  
  • Ghana and Liberia: USAID is continuing to prioritize limited quantities of Depo Provera® to relieve significant shortages and deter stock-outs. 

Contact Kevin Pilz for more information. 

Upcoming Events

7 Oct Achieving Universal Access to RH, Brussels. Contact An Huybrechts for more information.
12 Oct Caucus Quarterly Teleconference
13-14 Oct EC Jamboree, NY
15 Oct Deadline for Executive Committee representative applications
18-22 Oct Secretariat gobal staff meeting and retreat, Brussels
21 Oct LAC Forum Steering Committee Teleconference, contact Gloria Castany
2-3 Nov SSWG meeting, London
5 Nov Executive Committee meeting, London
8-9 Nov EuroNGOs Annual Conference, London
10-11 Nov RMA WG meeting, London
11-12 Nov MDA WG meeting, Washington, DC
12-14 Nov PMNCH Partners' Forum Meeting, New Delhi

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

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