The Global Initiative on Contraceptive Requirements and Logistics Management Needs was established in 1992 with support from donors and international agencies. Since then, the initiative has addressed a wide range of global as well as country-specific needs. During 1998, it focused on the following priority areas: national capacity-building in the areas of logistics management and distribution of reproductive health commodities; donor coordination and advocacy to improve the supply of reproductive health commodities; and sustainability of contraceptive and reproductive health commodities, to be achieved in part through collaboration with the for-profit sectors in developing countries.
The Global Initiative, together with UNFPA country offices and Country Support Teams, contributes to national capacity-building in a variety of ways. For example, it provides technical support for logistics management, strategy development workshops and in-depth studies on contraceptive requirements and logistics management needs.
Coordinating donor support is a crucial part of strengthening national logistics systems and improving the flow of reproductive health commodities to developing countries. The major donors of contraceptive commodities are represented in the Working Group that supervises the Global Initiative. The Working Group’s periodic meetings during 1998 provided opportunities to discuss current and future commodity provision; they also contributed to better planning and coordination among donors. An annual report, Donor Support for Contraceptive Commodities, which is compiled by UNFPA from data supplied by donors, provides details on the quantities, types and costs of contraceptives provided to developing countries and countries with economies in transition. The report, available on the UNFPA Web site, also analyses donor activities aimed at strengthening in-country logistics systems.
Programme sustainability is a major goal of the UNFPA private-sector initiative. The initiative, which was launched in 1997, works with the for-profit private sector and non-governmental organizations in developing countries to increase access to affordably priced commercial reproductive health products and services. In so doing, the initiative frees up public-sector resources, which can then be used to serve the needs of population groups unable to pay full price for such products and services.
A meeting held during 1998 reviewed progress on the private-sector initiative. Gathering at the Rockefeller Study and Conference Center, in Bellagio, Italy, from 16 to 20 November, the participants agreed that the initiative needed to be strengthened in a number of areas, including demand creation, public policy and donor coordination. They recommended that UNFPA continue to support further exploration of the initiative in selected countries. Six missions were fielded in 1998, to Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Thailand. Egypt, Ghana and India in particular have shown considerable interest in the initiative. It is expected that affordable, commercial contraceptive products will become more widely accessible in these and other countries, as governments forge new partnerships with the private sector.