Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition annual meeting in Kampala
John Skibiak, Director, Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition,
Kampala, May 2010—From May 27th to 28th, the Ministry of Health of Uganda and Partners in Population and Development, Africa Regional Office, will host the 11th Annual Membership Meeting of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition. To be held at the Kampala Sheraton, the two-day meeting will cap a full week’s worth of smaller gatherings and working sessions attended by international and national leaders in the reproductive health field.
As the Coalition’s first annual meeting to be held outside Europe or North America, the Kampala event will showcase successes and lessons from across the developing world—from Honduras in Central America, to Bangladesh to Rwanda. And closer to home, Minister of Health Dr. Stephen Mallinga will use his keynote address to officially launch Uganda’s Five-year Reproductive Health Commodity Security Strategy.
In 2009, Uganda became the first African government to join the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition, taking its place alongside the governments of the United States, seven European nations, the European Union, and subsequently the government of Ghana.
In recent years, the Coalition has increasingly become the focus of worldwide attention—particularly as a result of new, innovative initiatives that could, one day, dramatically change the way RH supplies and other essential medicines are selected, purchased, shipped, and delivered. A new mechanism called AccessRH, for example, will allow governments to benefit from the cost-savings of highervolume procurement, while at the same time, reducing the long lead-times that normally transpire between the purchase and delivery of goods. Another mechanism, known as the Pledge Guarantee for Health, will allow governments and other institutions to quickly convert promises of international donor support into immediate cash for commodities—so that governments can buy when the need exists, not just when donors choose to disburse funds. And finally, through the WHO Prequalification Programme, the Coalition and its members are working to guarantee the quality of RH supplies through the application of unified international standards of quality, safety, and efficacy.
The Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (www.rhsupplies.org) is a global health partnership dedicated to making essential reproductive health products available in low- and moderate-income countries. It brings together more than 110 international agencies with critical roles in providing contraceptives and other reproductive health supplies, such as multi- and bilateral donors, private foundations, low- and moderate-income country governments, civil society, and private-sector representatives.