As 2017 draws to a close, the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition has much to celebrate with you, our members. In a year where the development community has had to face vexing political change and dwindling financial resources, the Coalition has remained strong, nimble, and – now, more than ever – focused on increasing contraceptive access to the world’s poorest.
2017 was a landmark year for us because...
In 2017 we launched a new Youth Caucus. Its 150 members have produced key advocacy messages, policy scorecards, toolkits and webinars, and participated at global events such as the recent London Summit for Family Planning. A special youth-focused round of the Innovation Fund saw the introduction of pioneering marketing models for menstrual cups in Uganda, a mentorship programme for training pharmacy assistants in Malawi, youth-friendly service delivery guidelines in Chinese hospitals, and crowd-sourced data shared via a mobile app in Argentina.
Isolated from global progress on commodity security, women in Latin America pay some of the highest prices in the world for contraceptives. This year, the Coalition’s LAC Forum embarked on a pioneering initiative to make contraceptives more affordable, cement relationships between procurers and manufacturers, and empower advocates to demand quality and cost savings. Most of all, this initiative seeks to bridge a largely sidelined continent to world advances in contraceptive commodity security.
The Commodity Gap Analysis Report (CGA) became a valuable reference document, prompting enquiries from across the reproductive health community including UNFPA Supplies, bilateral agencies, and country partners, each of whom requested tailored data to suit their own needs. The secondary analyses helped target action to close existing funding gaps. A custom-made online dashboard was designed to allow visitors to see the detailed data behind the CGA.
We partnered with UNFPA and the IT solutions firm, Systmapp, to digitize the collection, storage and analysis of Country Questionnaires and Health Facility Surveys in the 46 countries where UNFPA Supplies operates. The effort has enhanced data collection and transfer, improved reporting, and made possible more informed decision-making.
Financed by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, four Innovation Fund grants helped overcome barriers to safe abortion supplies in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. In Kazakhstan, we saw greater awareness of new pregnancy tests to monitor the successful completion of early medical abortion. In Nigeria, a mobile health app was developed to help healthcare providers to track medical abortion and manual vacuum aspiration supplies. In Latin America, we pinpointed factors that favour national regulatory approval of misoprostol and mifepristone. And finally, we supported a global landscaping analysis that documented gaps and challenges confronting access to safe abortion supplies. A new workstream dedicated to Safe Abortion was born under the auspices of the Caucus for New and Underused Reproductive Health Technology.
In 2017, the Coordinated Supplies Planning group helped mobilize an additional $12.5M worth of orders for FP products. Delayed, canceled or reduced orders saved $2.3M in unnecessary procurements. Meanwhile, our CARhs group resolved 174 supply chain issues through information sharing or by expediting, postponing and/or transferring shipments. In one instance, we saved thousands of IUDs from possible expiry and non-use, yielding thousands of dollars in cost savings and averting up to 2,000 unwanted pregnancies.
CSP & CARhs achievements
We helped create Market Bookshelf, an online tool which aggregates and disseminates information on health markets. Market Bookshelf features more than 500 documents indexed by content area, health area, geography, document type, and year. It will be updated continually with new articles, reports and tools, and will cover a broad range of health areas, including malaria, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, contraception, neonatal and child health, maternal health, tuberculosis & other communicable diseases, immunization and non-communicable diseases.
We brought together experts working on oxytocin to translate the complicated and sometimes unclear scientific evidence surrounding it into understandable public health messages for relevant stakeholders, including regulatory agencies, procurement agencies, program managers, store-keepers, health providers and the private sector.
This year, representatives from Proctor & Gamble Egypt shared with us their experience in setting up a control tower of their own. The meeting validated much of what we had already done with our Global FP VAN and reinforced our own conviction that an effective visibility analytics network (VAN) is as much about people, processes and policies as it is technology.
This exchange provided ample evidence of the benefits to be derived from tapping the brain trust and knowledge of partners in the corporate sector.
This year, modest Innovation Fund investments totaling no more than $120K saw returns exceeding $6.3M in project scale-up and dissemination. Recipient organization Village Reach, for example, turned its $50K grant to expand young people’s access to contraception in Malawi into subsequent investments of $1.3M from USAID/PEPFAR, and an additional $5M from USAID to support scale-up and systems-strengthening initiatives. Since its inception in 2008, the Innovation Fund has granted more than $5M and leveraged more than $19.5M, in keeping with the Coalition’s ongoing drive to achieve value for money.
Innovation Fund in Numbers