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sema team 2023

SEMA so far in 2023

Blog | 01 Jun 2023

By Blair Hanewall, Executive Director, SEMA 

Sexual and reproductive health is a fundamental aspect of overall well-being, and investing in it has far-reaching benefits for individuals, societies, and economies. By recognizing its significance and investing in it, we can empower individuals to make informed decisions about their bodies, relationships, and future. SEMA, in collaboration with partners, has been diligently working towards improving the sexual reproductive health (SRH) markets to ensure that those in need of reproductive healthcare have access to it. 

We are excited to share some of the progress focused on these three areas that we believe are critical to achieving healthy markets:

  • Country markets should have capabilities among public and private market stakeholders to understand, design solutions and drive market interventions to steward their markets and respond to consumer needs
  • SRH product markets should be monitored and managed to deliver a reliable supply of appropriate and quality products at sustainable prices in line with consumer preferences
  • Cross-cutting market enablers - such as access and use to public and private market data, supportive procurement strategies and tools to access products, and market coordination & management structures - must be in place to support country and product markets

To advance this vision, a key priority in 2023 has been improving access to comprehensive data regarding public and private markets that is a critical cross-cutting market enabler benefitting many countries. For instance, we have partnered with Maisha Meds to test cost-effective approaches to gather private market data, are collaborating with RHSC to improve public market commodity flow visibility, and are working with several partners to launch a multi-product, multi-country strategic demand forecasting initiative to support the field. In parallel, efforts are underway to develop a comprehensive data set incorporating much of this data with different levels of access for implementers, public and private buyers, distributors, etc., which should support improved understanding and decision-making regarding SRH markets.

We and partners are also exploring ways to strengthen and support country market stewardship capability. Over the past year, we have supported country partners in Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Senegal to align around the strengths, shortcomings, and opportunities within their local markets. We are now preparing to finance market interventions to respond to high-priority opportunities. At the same time, local partners continue to align with stakeholders around market roadmaps that outline future activities to improve local SRH markets.

In addition, over the past year, SEMA has collaborated with various partners to conduct SRH product market assessments of crucial products with apparent market challenges - specifically, hormonal IUD, injectables, and medical abortion. And on July 13, 2023, we are hosting a webinar in partnership with Global Impact Advisors and CHAI to share the findings of these assessments and the recommendations. The discussion will also highlight cross-cutting issues emerging from these assessments that could improve SRH product market access generally.

These are just a few highlights of our work to date. We look forward to sharing some of the projects with you all at either the Women Deliver Conference in Rwanda this July or the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC) General Membership meeting in October in Ghana. In addition, our efforts were recently featured in an article in Nature Africa, emphasizing the significance of universal access to SRH services and products by 2030.

It will take the hard work and coordination of many to ensure SRH markets truly meet the diverse needs of our communities. But we are excited to work on this goal with others, and thank you for your continued support and partnership.