UN Commission Project on Female Condoms
Since late 2015, Rutgers is implementing a project of the UN Commission on Life Saving Commodities on advancing the global and in-country evidence-based advocacy for female condoms. This project is building on important advocacy work of the UAFC Joint Programme and will finish end May 2016. For this project Rutgers works together with partner organizations in Nigeria (Association for Reproductive and Family Health, ARFH), DR Congo (Oxfam Novib) and Cameroon (Femmes Santé Développement, FESADE). See below the most important outputs of this project.
Country policy mappings
The three partners undertook an extensive mapping of reproductive health and family planning policies, strategies, programmes and stakeholders in their respective countries. They analyzed if and to what extent female condoms are included, being one of the 13 essential, life-saving commodities as identified by the UN Commission.
Advocacy brief myths and misconceptions
To support female condom advocacy, Rutgers and ARFH produced a brief that summarizes common myths and misconceptions on female condoms, and debunks them based on accurate information, evidence and references.
Counseling toolkit for health professionals
To generate demand for female condoms and to improve the information provision of health professionals, Rutgers has developed a counseling toolkit. This was done in consultation with ARFH and health care providers in Nigeria. The toolkit consists of a poster and flyer to promote female condoms at the health facility or pharmacy, and a guide for health professionals to inform their clients adequately.
This project was made possible with the financial support of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition and the UN Commission on Life Saving Commodities.
UN Commission on Life-saving Commodities for Women and Children
As part of the Every Woman Every Child movement and in an effort to meet the health-related Millennium Development Goals, the United Nations (UNICEF and UNFPA) launched a commission in March 2012 to increase access to life-saving medicines and health supplies for the most vulnerable people across the world. This UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children (the Commission) is championing efforts to reduce barriers that block access to essential health commodities. Global stakeholders from the public, private and civil society sectors are advocating at the highest levels to catalyze change in production, distribution and use of essential but under-used commodities for women’s and children’s health.
Based on three criteria – high impact and effective commodities, inadequate funding, and untapped potential – an initial list of 13 life-saving commodities were identified and approved by the Commission (see table) and 10 recommendations were formulated to deliver on the promise of saving the lives of millions of women and children worldwide. UAFC played a key role in formulation of the Commission’s recommendations and the background document, including by advocating for active consultation with and inclusion of civil society and commodity experts, especially from the Global South. As co-moderator of the Female Condom Technical Reference Team (FC TRT), UAFC collaborated with UNFPA to lead the development of the 2013-2014 Global Work plan for Female Condoms.
|Family Planning||Female Condoms Implants Emergency Contraceptives|
|Maternal Health||Oxytocin Misoprostol Magnesium Sulfate|
|Newborn Health||Injectable Antibiotics Antenatal Corticosteroid Chlorhexidine Rhesuscitation Equipment|
|Child Health||Amoxicillin Oral Rehydration Salts Zinc|
Eight pilot countries (or ‘pathfinding’ countries) were identified for initial implementation: DR Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Uganda. National Governments of these countries developed costed plans in 2013-2014, and implementation of these country plans is underway. An additional set of countries is currently being discussed.
In implementation of these country plans in Nigeria and Senegal, UAFC is partnering with Pathfinder International and the International Consortium on Emergency Contraception in a project funded by the John F. Templeton Foundation. The emphasis lays on coordination of advocacy strategies and strengthen existing civil society coalitions in both countries to ensure that the country implementation processes pay adequate attention to the 3 Family Planning commodities: Female Condoms, Emergency Contraceptives, and Implants.
UAFC has contributed to the development of the Advocacy Toolkit as active member of the Advocacy Working Group of the Commission, under the leadership of PATH. The Commission recently launched its new website, and the Advocacy Working Group developed several brochures:
- Life-saving commodities – Advocacy
- Produits d’importance vital – Plaidoyer
- UN commission on Life-saving commodities – from recommendations to impact
- Commission des Nations Unies sur les produits d’ importance vitale: des recommandations aus resultats
Since early 2014, the Female Condom TRT is merged with the Emergency Contraceptives TRT and the Implants TRT into the Family Planning TRT. This FP TRT is being coordinated by the New and Underused RH Technologies Caucus of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC), and a joint work plan is currently being implemented. UAFC continues to play a lead role for female condoms in these structures, by coordinating inputs from and facilitate learning amongst female condom programmers, advocates and commodity experts from around the world.