Welcome to the latest *pre-launch* ORSZCA Update.
UNICEF responds on co-pack prices and invites ORSZCA to join pre-tender consultation
In our last update we explained that discussions with UNICEF on co-pack pricing had stalled. We asked ORSZCA members to consider writing to the Director of UNICEF Supply Division to express concern about the fact that, in the UNICEF catalogue, an ORS/Zinc co-pack is more than twice the price of its component parts.
We’d like to thank all those who used our template letter to help re-start discussions. This approach worked. We received replies from the Director, Ms Etleva Kadilli, and the Chief of the Medicines and Nutrition Centre, Dr Akthem Fourati. These responses explained why the 2020 re-tendering for ORS/Zinc products did not happen – COVID – another example of the way COVID has disrupted health services for children. However, both UNICEF respondents reassured us that they were finalising tender preparations for ORS/Zinc products for issuance early in Quarter 1 of 2022 and have asked the ORSZCA team to be part of our pre-tender consultations with key partners. This is good news.
Various reasons were given as to why the current catalogue co-pack prices (from 2015) are more expensive than their component parts but we believe that these reasons should not apply in 2022. In their response, the ORSZCA Co-chairs welcomed the imminent re-tendering but stated:
“…we wish to reiterate our utmost concerns that, going forward, […], attention should be paid to whether ORS/Zinc co-packs appear to be more expensive than the sum of their parts. This would be an active disincentive to the purchase of co-packs and this has a real, concrete impact on child morbidity and survival.”
This is the second example of how, by acting together, ORSZCA can remove barriers to the uptake of the 2019 WHO ORS/Zinc co-packaging recommendation. In October this year the GFF changed the publicity around their ‘Reclaim the Gains’ initiative from “oral rehydration treatment” to “oral rehydration solution and zinc treatment”. This will affect how 458 million additional diarrhoea treatments are delivered between now and 2025.
Latest on the ORSZCA launch
Preparations are advancing for the ORSZCA Launch on 19-Jan-22 at 9am EST. This will take the form of an interactive webinar. So far, we have confirmed contributions from Prof Dr Robert Black (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) and Dr OP Singh (Stop Diarrhoea Initiative/Save the Children India). We will send a full programme shortly, once all elements are confirmed, to all ORSZCA and Child Health Task Force members.In the meantime, please add the launch date to your calendar and forward this email to anyone you think might be interested:
Once again, we thank the Child Health Task Force for hosting the launch.
Replies to this email are open; please get back to us with your comments.
Simon and Leith
Simon Berry and Leith Greenslade
ORSZCA Start-up catalysts