Eleventh Meeting, Kampala 2010
On May 27th and 28th, more than 140 participants from around the globe assembled in Kampala for the 11th General Membership Meeting of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition. Hosted by the Ugandan Ministry of Health and the Africa Regional Office of Partners in Population and Development, the event was the Coalition’s first annual meeting to be held outside Europe or North America. As in previous years, the meeting was preceded by a week’s worth of events, including gatherings of the Coalition’s Executive Committee, its three working groups, and the Caucus on New and Underused Reproductive Health Technologies.
In his opening remarks, State Minister for Health, the Hon. James Kakooza, praised the work of the Coalition while also detailing steps currently underway within his own country to strengthen RH commodity security. These included the launch of a new five-year strategic plan on commodity security as well as the allocation of substantial government funding for RH, and supplies in particular. Mr. Kakooza also acknowledged the work of Uganda’s IPPF affiliate, RHU, which—in honor of the meeting—had put up billboards around Kampala, urging politicians to allocate funding for RH supplies.
This year, the agenda focused heavily on voices from the field, with case studies being presented from Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Honduras, and Bangladesh. Participants were also treated to the launch of three new videos, including the short documentary "Empty-Handed", copies of which were later distributed at the CNN African Journalist of the Year award ceremonies. And in a true first for the Coalition, more than 60 member organizations signed letters to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, host of the June 2010 G8/G20 Conference, urging that funds be committed "...to improve maternal health...and to ensure that the systems are in place to effectively procure and distribute much needed RH supplies."