Integrating Maternal Health Supplies into the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition

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The Maternal Health Task Force is working with Population Action International (PAI) to apply the lessons learned from the reproductive health supplies movement to the maternal health field, in order to ensure that women throughout the world have access to all the reproductive and maternal health supplies they need. PAI is facilitating the inclusion and engagement of maternal health groups as active members of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition, promoting the adoption of maternal health supplies as a priority issue of the RHSC, and promoting the adoption of the supply issue into maternal health organizations’ technical and advocacy priorities. The two critical outputs from this project will be: 1) two country case studies that highlight supplies needed for maternal and reproductive health beyond contraceptives, 2) advocacy materials, such as a fact sheet, checklist, or toolkit on maternal health supplies that can be used with policy makers and partners.

Here is a brief update from PAI on the progress of the project—with a focus on three main objectives:

Facilitating inclusion and engagement of maternal health groups in the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition. We have been actively working to encourage MH focused organizations to become members of the RHSC and are supporting several in-country stakeholders, including members of the White Ribbon Alliance from Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, to attend the annual meeting at the end of May.

Promoting the adoption of MH supplies as a priority issue of RHSC. I am pleased to report that despite a packed agenda, we were able to secure a timeslot at the RHSC specifically to discuss maternal health supplies. We are organizing a one hour panel session, at which we will release our reports on MH Supplies. Stakeholders from Bangladesh and Uganda specifically will have the opportunity to convey the issues faced in improving access to maternal health supplies, and the important links between maternal health and broader reproductive health, including family planning.

Promoting the adoption of supply issues into maternal health organizational, technical and advocacy priorities. We have been actively working with PMNCH on the priority action around commodities. Most recently, Carolyn Vogel attended a planning meeting in Geneva that focused on future activities and directions around this issue. Additionally, our forthcoming research reports on maternal health supplies in Bangladesh and Uganda will be important in illustrating the main issues around maternal health supplies. The policy recommendations and advocacy entry points section of the reports provide concrete examples of the ways in which the maternal health community can engage in the maternal health supplies issue. Dissemination of these findings will be important to the achievement of this objective. In the coming months, we will again be reaching out to the individuals and organizations who participated in our first meeting on maternal health supplies to discuss our research findings and plan additional collaborative outreach activities.

Click here for a blog post by Roy Jacobstein on his observations of the “Linking Reproductive and Maternal Health Supplies” meeting held in December at PAI.

Click here to learn about other projects supported by the Maternal Health Task Force.