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2016

Teach to Reach Summit - moving from theory to action

Barcelona, Spain 29 November, 2016 to 1 December, 2016

The "Teach to Reach Summit - moving from theory to action" was organised by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation from 29 November to 1 December 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.

The Teach to Reach Summit discussed the latest in learning science, strategies to improve immunisation training, measurement and support needed to ensure what is learned is applied on the job. Keynote presentations addressed the following topics: Instructural design; Measurement; and Training follow-up. The closing note focused on how to inspire learning.

The majority of the time was devoted to group work. The participants were divided in 7 groups addressing the key topics below. Each group had to work through 4 sessions: 1) concept and impact; 2) implementation and activities; 3) measurement; and 4) sustainability and resource requirements.

Post-training follow up: How can we reinforce content delivered in a training once learners return to the workplace? What mechanisms and structures already exist to provide post-training follow-up support, and what may need to be created?

  • Incentivizing learning: How can we change the context of training and incentives to better promote learning and demonstration of knowledge and skills? 

  • Creating structures to support change: How can we institutionalize structures within government and/or academic institutions to support new methodologies for training? 

  • Training in fragile states: What is an effective model for training at scale in fragile states that could overcome significant and complex logistical constraints? 

  • Incorporating up-to-date information in pre-service training: How can we begin to improve upon pre-service training by incorporating up-to-date information in an ongoing, systematic way? 

  • Delivering existing training in new ways: How can we deliver a standard mid-level manager training in an innovative way? 

  • Delivering new vaccine introduction training: How can we plan ahead to best leverage project funds for new vaccine introductions (such as HPV introduction) or campaigns to deliver better immunisation training? 


At the end of each day, groups reported back to the plenary and received constructive feedback from an expert panel and the other participants. The group work resulted in draft proposals that can be further elaborated on.

Specific NESI contributions:

  • Invited poster presentation on "Evaluation of the introduction of the EPI prototype curricula in pre-service health training institutions in the African Region," NESI/University of Antwerp, WHO/AFRO.

  • Team Lead for group work on "Incorporating up-to-date information in pre-service training"

EPI Managers Meeting for Eastern and Southern Africa Sub-region

Harare, Zimbabwe 26 September, 2016 to 28 September, 2016

The EPI managers meeting for Eastern and Southern African countries, was organised by WHO/AFRO in Harare, Zimbabwe, from 26 to 28 September 2016. The meeting was attended by 151 participants, including country representatives from: Botswana, Comoros, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Partner organisations attending the EPI managers meeting included: WHO, WHO/AFRO, UNICEF, American Red Cross, BMGF, CDC, Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), Gavi, Gavi CSO constituency, JSI/MCSP, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, PATH, USAID, and NESI/UAntwerp.

The overall objective of the meeting was to provide a forum for technical orientation and exchange of experiences between countries in the Eastern and Southern African region and partners, to discuss current issues and challenges related to vaccine-preventable diseases and their solutions, and to update participants on global and regional policies and guidelines.

The meeting was organised around three sessions:

  • Session 1: Regional Immunization Strategic Plan 2014-2020: Routine Immunization and New Vaccines Introduction
    Objectives: To update EPI managers and partners on progress in the implementation of the Regional Immunization Strategic Plan; review progress and challenges in reaching the unreached target population with routine immunisation services and new vaccines; and discuss data quality as well as immunisation financing issues. 
  • Session 2: Accelerated Immunization Initiative
    Objectives: To update countries and partners on progress towards elimination of measles and maternal and neonatal tetanus; to update on Rubella vaccine introduction; to share country experiences with the implementation of strategies to eliminate/control the targeted vaccine-preventable diseases. A panel discussion addressed measles elimination and the threat of Yellow Fever in Eastern and Southern Africa
  • Session 3: Polio Eradication Initiative:
    Objectives: to review progress on switch and post switch, identify challenges (e.g. IPV supply), and facilitate implementation of the polio end game plan including polio transition planning. 


NESI also participated in the country side meetings for Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Namibia is planning for HPV vaccine introduction during 2017. NESI made a commitment to assist Namibia with the HPV vaccine training prior to the introduction.

Attending the EPI managers meeting was instrumental to NESI to engage all country teams to participate in the Symposium "Strengthening HPV vaccination and adolescent health programmes in Africa" in Johannesburg, South Africa.

10th Vaccine Congress

Amsterdam, The Netherlands 4 September, 2016 to 7 September, 2016

The 10th Vaccine Congress was organised by Elsevier from 4-7 September 2016 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The Vaccine Congress is complimentary to the journal Vaccine, a premier journal for scientists interested in vaccinology. The congress brought together leading experts from all over the world to share the latest discoveries in the field of vaccines and immunisation.

The congress was attended by over 250 participants from academia, research institutions, ministries of health, and industry. In addition to the plenary sessions, break-out and poster sessions, two workshops were organised on the following themes: “Publish or perish: How to become a successful author,” and “How to raise funding for your research.” There was also an opportunity to meet the editors of the journal Vaccine for a speed review of draft papers, proposals or ideas.

Specific contributions included:

  • Poster: suboptimal under one year-old vaccination coverage in South African children with diarrhoea attending a tertiary hospital in Gauteng Province in 2011-2014. Burnett RJ, Mmoledi G, Dochez Cm Seheri LM, Mphahlele MJ.

  • Presentation (presented by first author): First report on occult hepatitis B virus infection in South African healthcare workers. Sondlane TH, Mawela L, Razwiedani LL, Selabe SG, Lebelo RL, Rakgole JN, Mphahlele MJ, Dochez C, De Schryver A, Burnett RJ. 

Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) meetings

Geneva; Switzerland 12 April, 2016 to 14 April, 2016

The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) meetings were organised by WHO from 12 to 14 April 2016, and from 18 to 20 October 2016, in Geneva, Switzerland. SAGE advises WHO on overall global policies and strategies, ranging from vaccine research and development, to delivery of immunisation services and linking immunisation with other health interventions. SAGE usually meets twice a year and reports directly to the Director-General of WHO.

The first session of the respective SAGE meetings covered the reports from WHO/IVB and Gavi, followed by reports from other advisory committees. Topics from the April 2016 meeting included Respiratory syncytial virus vaccines, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, implementation in the context of health system strengthening and universal health coverage, pre-empting and responding to vaccine shortages, missed opportunities for vaccination, the second year of life platform, and dengue vaccine. Topics discussed in October 2016 were Global Polio Eradication Initiative, measles and rubella elimination, maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination, GVAP progress report, hepatitis B vaccination, HPV vaccines, and yellow fever. 

SAGE is an excellent opportunity for NESI to network but also for understanding the rationale supporting WHO's recommendations on vaccines and immunisation. These evidence-based arguments can immediately be included in NESI's education and training activities enriching discussions with the most up-to-date information, especially relevant for vaccinology courses and immunisation management courses.

Ministerial Conference on Immunization in Africa

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 24 February, 2016 to 25 February, 2016

The Ministerial Conference on Immunization in Africa was organised by WHO/AFRO, WHO/EMRO, Government of Ethiopia and the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 24-25 February 2016.

The conference bringing together African leaders, including health and finance ministers, was also attended by advocates, technical experts, policymakers, academia, civil society organisations, donors and journalists to examine how best to drive forward immunization across Africa.

Conference sessions, in the format of round-table discussions, included: sustainable financing; the role of communities in coverage and demand; building stronger systems to improve child health; and leveraging regional partnerships to ensure high and equitable vaccination coverage.

A full report from the conference can be read at the conference website.

2015

VaxInEU Symposium

Barcelona, Spain 30 September, 2015 to 2 October, 2015

A new Erasmus Mundus Joint Master's Degree entitled "Leading International Vaccinology Education" (LIVE) was granted by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and is scheduled to start in September 2016.

LIVE is a two years Master's programme between five European universities: Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, France (coordinating university); Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain; Universitat de Barcelona, Spain; University of Antwerp, Belgium; Université Jean Monnet Saint-Etienne, France. In addition, the programme is supported by a worldwide network of 31 international associated partners and 16 supporting partners. NESI is supporting partner to the LIVE programme.

The general objective of this new LIVE programme is to train the next generation vaccinologists who will have to manage an increasing number of infectious and non-infectious vaccine targets. The LIVE programme will focus on three main pillars:

  1. in-depth exposure of trainees to the multi-disciplinary aspects of vaccinology, 
  2. academic preparation in basic and clinical sciences, 
  3. vaccinology training undertaken in both public sector and industry settings.

The two-year programme is divided in four semesters. The students will be attending each semester at different universities: during the first semester the courses will focus on immunology and immunopathology and will be taking place in Spain; during the second semester students will specialise in infectiology in Belgium; research and clinical vacicnology will be the focus during the third semester in France. After completion of the course work, the LIVE students will be conducting their Master thesis during the fourth semester at partner universities/organisations/companies around the world.

The LIVE programme was launched during the "VaxInEu Symposium on Vaccinology and Infectiology" that was held in Barcelona, Spain, from 30 September to 2 October 2015. This international symposium fosters exchanges between all vaccinology actors, including students, and is an excellent networking opportunity. The annual VaxInEu symposium will be alternatingly organised in the different countries of the LIVE programme. NESI attended the symposium as a supporting partner of the LIVE programme.

More information on the LIVE Master's programme and application procedures can be found here


30th International Papillomavirus Conference

Lisbon, Portugal 17 September, 2015 to 21 September, 2015

The 30th International Papillomavirus Conference was organised in Lisbon, Portugal, from 17 to 21 September 2015, by the International Papillomavirus Society and the Portuguese Papillomavirus Society.

The conference brought together more than 2000 researchers, clinicians, policy-makers and other healthcare professionals aiming at exchanging the latest advances in science and practice.

Some of the conference highlights included: epidemiology of HPV; molecular biology; immunology and pathogenesis of HPV; HPV vaccines; prevention of cervical cancer and other papillomavirus associated diseases. The conference format consisted of state-of-the-art sessions, keynote lectures, roundtable discussions, workshops and sessions including oral and poster presentations.

SAVIC/SMU, SA-MRC and NESI/University of Antwerp presented two posters in the session on Public Health/Epidemiology – Vaccination. Participating in this conference was also an opportunity to meet experts in the different fields of HPV research and to develop new collaborations.

 

Task Force on Immunisation (TFI)

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 30 June, 2015 to 1 July, 2015

The Task Force on Immunisation (TFI) was organised by WHO/AFRO in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia, from 30 June to 1 July 2015.

The Task Force on Immunisation serves as the principal advisory group to WHO/AFRO for development of policies related to vaccines and immunisation. The mandate of TFI is to provide strategic advice, and is not restricted to childhood vaccines and immunisation but covers the control of all vaccine-preventable diseases in the context of health systems strengthening.

The objectives of the TFI meeting included:

  •  Review the recommendations from SAGE April 2015 and their implications for the African Region;
  •  Analyse progress made in Polio Eradication Initiative in the African Region;
  •  Discuss revitalisation of immunisation systems in the Ebola affected countries (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone);
  •  Assess status of GVAP implementation in the African Region;
  •  Review progress in measles/rubella control.

The Task Force on Immunisation was attended by the TFI members, SAGE and ARCC members, chairs of Technical Advisory Groups, and representatives of the following organisations: WHO, UNICEF, USAID, CDC, Gavi, AMP, NESI, JSI, Rotary Foundation. It was a great honour for NESI to be invited by WHO/AFRO to this high-level meeting.

 

 

Global Immunisation Meeting: Protect, Innovate, Accelerate

Sitges, Spain 23 June, 2015 to 25 June, 2015

The Global Immunisation Meeting: Protect, Innovate, Accelerate was organised by WHO and UNICEF in Sitges, Spain, from 23 to 25 June 2015. Meeting participants included Ministry of Health representatives of 26 countries, representatives of WHO, UNICEF, academia, partner agencies, civil society organisations and industry.

The format of the meeting comprised of plenary and parallel interactive workshop sessions.

The agenda addressed topics in the three priority areas: protect, innovate and accelerate.

  • Protect: reach the unreached | increase and sustain coverage | strengthen immunisation systems
  • Innovate: introduce new vaccines and technologies | promote integrated approaches to disease control
  • Accelerate: eliminate measles and rubella | control meningitis A | monitor maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination

During this meeting key issues related to strengthening routine immunisation, introduction of new vaccines, needs in capacity building, accelerated disease control among other topics were discussed with all partners at the global, regional and country level. The meeting reported that achievements have been made in introducing new vaccines and establishing and strengthening NITAGs. However, five of the six GVAP targets for 2015 are not on track: DTP3 coverage targets; poliovirus transmission interruption; maternal and neonatal tetanus global elimination by 2015; measles elimination from three more WHO regions by end-2015; and rubella elimination from one more WHO region by end-2015. Only the GVAP target of new and under-utilised vaccine introduction is on track.

All countries and organisations committed to GVAP were encouraged to evaluate their contributions and make improvements to achieve results. New tools and strategies, renewed global commitment and strong country ownership will be critical to get back on track. It is now key to attaining and sustaining polio eradication; measles and rubella elimination; and maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination.

Attending this meeting was a good opportunity for NESI to meet key partners and to receive updates on the newest developments on vaccines and immunisation.

 

 

Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) meetings

Geneva, Switzerland 14 April, 2015 to 16 April, 2015

The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) meetings were organised by WHO from 14 to 16 April 2015, and from 20 to 22 October 2015, in Geneva, Switzerland. SAGE advises WHO on overall global policies and strategies, ranging from vaccine research and development, to delivery of immunisation services and linking immunisation with other health interventions. SAGE usually meets twice a year and reports directly to the Director-General of WHO.

The first session of the respective SAGE meetings covered the reports from WHO/IVB and Gavi, followed by reports from other advisory committees. Major topics discussed during this years' SAGE meetings were Ebola vaccines and Malaria vaccine. It was for the first time during the SAGE meeting in October 2015, that reports from international immunisation partners were presented. Other topics addressed by SAGE during 2015 are summarised in the table.

SAGE is an excellent opportunity for NESI to network but also for understanding the rationale supporting WHO's recommendations on vaccines and immunisation. These evidence-based arguments can immediately be included in NESI's education and training activities enriching discussions with the most up-to-date information, especially relevant for vaccinology courses and immunisation management courses.

WHO/AFRO Immunisation Partners Meeting

Brazzaville, Congo 2 March, 2015 to 3 March, 2015

The Immunisation Partners Meetings was organised by WHO/AFRO from 2 to 3 March 2015, in Brazzaville, Congo.

The meeting was attended by 80 participants, including WHO and UNICEF staff, representatives from TFI, TAG, ARCI and ARICC, and other immunisation partners: BMGF, CDC, Gavi, JSI, MSF, NESI, Rotary International and USAID.

The meeting discussed the African Regional Strategic Plan for Immunisation 2014-2020 and updates on routine immunisation and new vaccines introduction; accelerated immunisation initiatives, and polio eradication.
During the second day specific country coordination activities were discussed, including implications of the ebola outbreak on immunisation programmes; and security constraints in Nigeria. The 2015 Plan of Action from IVE was presented and discussed in detailed.

The meeting ended by statements presented by the different partners. NESI made a commitment to the joint AFRO/NESI 2015 activities on EPI pre-service training, MLM and vaccinology courses.
Attending the Immunisation Partners Meeting was an excellent opportunity for NESI to discuss and plan joint activities with partners.

2014

8th African Rotavirus Symposium

Livingstone, Zambia 12 June, 2014 to 13 June, 2014

The 8th African Rotavirus Symposium was organised from 12 to 13 June 2014 in Livingstone, Zambia, by the African Rotavirus Network (ARN) – a network of global rotavirus researchers, African Ministries of Health, WHO and other key partners and stakeholders. The Symposium was hosted by the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ), in collaboration with the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health of Zambia. The theme of the Symposium was 'Rotavirus Landscape in Africa – Towards Prevention and Control'.

The scientific committee members of the Symposium are key leaders in the rotavirus field including Dr Roger Glass (Associate Director of International Research, U.S. National Institutes of Health); Dr Duncan Steel (Senior Programme Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates foundation); Dr Umesh Parashar (Lead Division of Enteric Viruses, CDC); Prof Jeffrey Mphahlele (Professor of Virology, University of Limpopo, South Africa); Dr Jason Mwenda (WHO/AFRO Regional Coordinator for Vaccine Disease Surveillance); Dr George Armah (Head West African Regional Rotavirus Reference Laboratory, Ghana) and Dr Roma Chilengi (Director of Primary Care and Health Systems Strengthening, CIDRZ).

The Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health, Emerine Kabanshi, gave the official opening speech. Zambia recently introduced three lifesaving vaccines into their National Immunisation Programme: pneumococcal, measles second dose, and rotavirus vaccine. The Minister announced that necessary commitments were made to ensure that no Zambian child dies from vaccine preventable diseases.

The Symposium was attended by 134 delegates from 34 countries; of which 27 were African. Scientists, academics, government officials and representatives from pharmaceutical companies discussed the achievements and challenges in the field of preventing childhood diarrhoea caused by rotavirus in Africa. During the two-day event, over 35 scientific presentations, as well as posters, were discussed. NESI was invited to present on "Capacity building activities in support of new vaccine introduction."

Symposium "Vaccine Confidence: Managing Risk, Building Trust"

London, United Kingdom 25 April, 2014

The symposium was co-organised by NESI and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and took place on 25 April at the Radisson Edwardian Bloomsbury hotel in London.

The symposium marked World Immunisation Week (24-30 April 2014) by bringing together experts from around the world to examine the local and global opportunities and risks which vaccines and vaccination programmes face, and featured the importance of building trust. Experts in risk and decision sciences, public health, health diplomacy, vaccines and immunisation, anthropology, history, e-health, policy and communications presented and discussed new ways of engaging publics to benefit from the constantly evolving portfolio of vaccine choices.

A full report of the Symposium is available below.

Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) meeting

Geneva, Switzerland 1 April, 2014 to 3 April, 2014

The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) meeting was organised by WHO from 1 to 3 April 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland. SAGE advises WHO on overall global policies and strategies, ranging from vaccine research and development, to delivery of immunisation services and linking immunisation with other health interventions. SAGE meets twice a year and reports directly to the Director-General of WHO. The first session of SAGE usually covers the reports from WHO/IVB and Gavi. This is followed by regional reports and other related topics.  

Topics during the April 2014 meeting were:
  • Immunization supply chains: strategies for the future of in-country systems strengthening
  • Global polio eradication initiative
  • Varicella and herpes zoster vaccines
  • Alternative vaccination schedules for HPV vaccines
  • Pertussis vaccines
  • Non-specific effects of vaccines on mortality in children under 5 years of age
  • Integration of immunization and child health services

SAGE is for NESI an excellent opportunity for networking but also for understanding the rationale underpinning most of WHO's recommendations on vaccines and immunisation. These evidence-based arguments subsequently can be rapidly included in NESI's training/teaching activities enriching discussions with the most recent information, especially relevant for vaccinology courses and immunisation management courses. 

EPI Managers Meeting for the Eastern and Southern Africa sub-Region

Harare, Zimbabwe 10 March, 2014 to 14 March, 2014

The annual EPI Managers Meeting for Eastern and Southern Africa was organised by WHO/Inter-country Support Team from Eastern and Southern Africa from 10 to 14 March 2014, in Harare, Zimbabwe.

The meeting was attended by more than 150 participants, including EPI managers and academics and WHO and UNICEF EPI focal points from 20 countries from Eastern and Southern Africa, as well as members of the Task Force on Immunisation and other immunisation partners: AMP, American Red Cross, BMGF, CHAI, CIDRZ, Gavi, MCHIP, NESI/UAntwerp and Sabin.

The overall objectives of the meeting was to provide a forum for technical orientation and exchange of experiences between countries in Eastern and Southern Africa and partners; to discuss current issues and challenges related to vaccine preventable diseases and their solutions; and to update participants on the global and regional policies and guidelines with special focus on acceleration of the polio eradication initiative.

The meeting aimed to update participants on the GVAP and the Regional IVE Strategic Plan and review progress and challenges in reaching the unreached target population with routine immunisation services and new vaccines; to discuss the financing of vaccination; to agree on ways to ensure complete interruption of WPV1 transmission in the Horn of Africa countries and maintain ESA countries polio free; and to review progress and challenges regarding the elimination of measles, MNT and Meningitis A epidemics, as well as the introduction of rubella vaccine and yellow fever control.

A special workshop was devoted to the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018.

Attending the EPI Managers meeting was an excellent opportunity for NESI to discuss and plan joint activities with EPI staff and other immunisation partners.

2013

Meeting of the Regional Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation

Amman, Jordan 21 November, 2013

The Meeting of the Regional Technical Advisory Group (RTAG) in the Eastern Mediterranean Region was organised by WHO/EMRO on 21 November 2013 in Amman, Jordan.

Participants included NITAG chairpersons of the following countries: Jordan, Libya, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates; as well as RTAG members, and representatives from WHO, SAGE, CDC and NESI.

The objective of the meeting was to update NITAG chairpersons and RTAG members on progress and constraints facing EPI and the expected role of NITAG for supporting EPI.

The session addressed the following topics:

  • Progress towards measles elimination in the EMR
  • Scaling up the use of rubella vaccine
  • Developing a regional target for rubella/CRS elimination
  • Introduction of new vaccines in countries of the EMR
  • Strengthening the National Immunisation Technical Advisory Groups

NESI was invited to give a presentation on "Strengthening the NITAGs for supporting EPI to achieve the immunisation targets".

Since nearly all of the Member States in the Region have an established NITAG, the regional strategy will focus on strengthening the functions and quality of decision making support processes of NITAGs. They are encouraged to support EPI programmes and decision makers, as well as considering collaborating with health training institutions to support human resources needs of the national immunisation programmes.

Inter-Country meeting on Measles/Rubella control and Elimination

Amman, Jordan 17 November, 2013 to 20 November, 2013

The inter-country meeting on measles/rubella control and elimination was organised by WHO/EMRO from 17-20 November 2013 in Amman, Jordan.

The meeting was attended by 66 participants from the following countries: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Islamic Republic of Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Republic of South Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen, United Arab Emirates; and included national EPI managers, national officers for measles surveillance, and national officers responsible for measles laboratory surveillance. Other participants were RTAG and NITAG members, WHO, UNICEF, CDC, GAVI Alliance and NESI.

The objectives of the meeting included:

  • Review countries' progress towards achieving the regional measles elimination target
  • Review and follow-up on implementation of the different components of regional strategy for measles elimination
  • Review and update the national plans for strengthening measles and rubella elimination and control programme

Plenary sessions discussed the global and regional updates towards measles elimination, as well as the progress in achieving and maintaining high population immunity against measles and rubella. Enhancing rubella and Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) control and elimination in the EMR was also discussed.

Group work sessions reviewed the situation of Member States in measles and rubella elimination in relation to population immunity and the surveillance progress in achieving the targets of measles and rubella surveillance performance indicators.

Countries are recommended to have policies and operational plans in place to deliver a catch-up dose to children who missed the first dose of the Measles Vaccine, and to ensure that all children receive two doses of the Measles Vaccine by the age of two.

Vaccinology Symposium

Hermanus, South Africa 13 October, 2013 to 15 October, 2013

The 10th Vaccinology Scientific Congress was organised by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, from 13 to 15 October 2013, in Hermanus, South Africa. This Symposium has evolved from a national event into a reference meeting for the Southern African sub-region.

The latest research, be it basic, clinical, epidemiological or operational research, was presented through state-of-the-art reviews by academic experts or young researchers and discussed with an audience consisting of EPI managers, academics and health workers from the private sector.

Sessions were devoted to:

  • Research on new vaccines, e.g. HIV and TB vaccines and a call for more local research on immunology of vaccines; 
  • Maternal (influenza, pertussis) and neonatal (hepB birth dose) immunisation of which the introduction in the South African schedule is still under discussion;
  • New developments in routine immunisation;
  • Surveillance of vaccine-preventable diseases; 
  • Discussion on the Decade of Vaccines and the implementation of recommendations of SAGE in the context of Southern Africa; and
  • Public and private immunisation practices.

NESI’s contribution to the Symposium has been and remains significant, with a key-note presentation on “Immunisation schedules”.

NESI’s collaboration with SAVIC/University of Limpopo, the Department of Health, and national and regional vaccine experts from the whole of Southern Africa is also greatly enhanced.

Strategic Advisory Group of Experts meetings (SAGE)

Geneva, Switzerland 9 April, 2013 to 11 April, 2013

The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) meetings were organised by WHO from 9 to 11 April 2013 and from 5 to 7 November 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland. SAGE advises WHO on overall global policies and strategies, ranging from vaccine research and development, to delivery of immunisation services and linking immunisation with other health interventions. SAGE meets twice a year and reports directly to the Director-General of WHO. The first session of SAGE usually covers the reports from WHO/IVB and the GAVI Alliance. This is followed by regional reports and other related topics.  

Topics during the April 2013 meeting were:
  • Dengue
  • Global polio eradication initiative
  • Yellow fever
  • Non-specific effects of vaccines on childhood mortality
  • Overcoming vaccine hesitancy
  • Optimization of Haemophilus influenza type b immunization schedules
  • Update on RTS,S/AS01 and the malaria vaccines pipeline

Topics during the November 2013 meeting were:

  • Global polio eradication initiative
  • Decade of Vaccines/Global Vaccine Action Plan Monitoring
  • Pandemic and pre-pandemic influenza vaccine
  • Measles and rubella elimination
  • Smallpox vaccines
  • Immunisation supply chain and logistics: key challenges and future directions
  • Sentinel site surveillance  

SAGE is for NESI an excellent opportunity for networking but also for understanding the rationale underpinning most of WHO's recommendations on vaccines and immunisation. These evidence-based arguments subsequently can be rapidly included in NESI's training/teaching activities enriching discussions with the most recent information, especially relevant for vaccinology courses and immunisation management courses. 

2012

4th Annual Regional Conference on Immunisation

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 10 December, 2012 to 12 December, 2012

The 4th Annual Regional Conference on Immunisation (ARCI), organised by WHO/AFRO, took place from 10 to 12 December 2012 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The theme for the fourth ARCI meeting was "Innovations, access and the rights of all to vaccines". The meeting dealt with three subthemes discussed during plenary sessions: (1) Targeted vaccine preventable disease control initiatives; (2) Innovations for strengthening immunisation systems; and (3) Vaccine research and development.

In addition to the plenary sessions, three parallel sessions were organised. The first parallel session discussed: (1) Polio operations – humanitarian crisis; (2) Measles and rubella; (3) Other disease control initiatives. The second parallel session was built around: (1) Disease surveillance and laboratory networks; (2) Immunisation financing; (3) Immunisation systems support. The third parallel session addressed: (1) Vaccine research and development, and vaccine regulation; (2) Immunisation informatics.

NESI was invited by WHO/AFRO to give a lecture in the parallel session on Immunisation systems support on "Innovative capacity building efforts for enhancing immunisation systems". The presentation was well received and opened up to lively discussions regarding immunisation training for healthcare workers. One the recommendations at the end of the meeting stated that "Countries are requested to strengthen human resource capacity and put immunisation strengthening as an integral part of the broader efforts to strengthen health systems".

Throughout the sessions on "poster presentations", the training DVD developed by the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation of Kenya, WHO and NESI, on "The introduction of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine in Kenya" was shown. 

International African Vaccinology Conference

Cape Town, South Africa 9 November, 2012 to 11 November, 2012

The first International African Vaccinology Conference, organised in Cape Town, South Africa, from 9 to 11 November 2012, was hosted by the Vaccines for Africa Initiative (VACFA), University of Cape Town (UCT). The conference was jointly organised by UCT and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD/NHLS), South Africa. The conference chairs were Prof. Gregory Hussey (UCT), Prof. Shabir Madhi (NICD/NHLS) and Prof. Barry Schoub (NICD/NHLS).

The Conference brought together 500 health workers, programme managers, researchers, representatives of civil society, government, and international agencies to discuss successes and challenges of immunisation programmes in Africa and to explore appropriate solutions.

The Conference focused on critical vaccine and immunisation issues for Africa as the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals is being approached. It provided a forum for discussions on vaccinology in Africa, including science, clinical, public health and health systems research. 

7th African Rotavirus symposium

Cape Town, South Africa 8 November, 2012

The 7th African Rotavirus Symposium was organised by the University of Limpopo/Medunsa Diarrheal Pathogens Research Unit, the Medical Research Council and the National Health Laboratory Services, on 8 November 2012 in Cape Town, South Africa. The symposium was a one day academic and scientific pre-conference (organised back-to-back with the International African Vaccinology Conference) aiming to disseminate up-to-date information from across the globe to all those involved in rotavirus research in the region. 

National Immunisation Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) meeting

Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt 20 September, 2012

The National Immunisation Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) Meeting in the Eastern Mediterranean Region was organised on 20 September 2012 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

The invited participants included NITAG chairpersons of the following countries: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Republic of South Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Republic of Yemen; as well as RTAG members, and representatives from WHO, UNICEF , CDC, AMP and NESI.

The objective of the meeting was to update NITAG chairpersons and RTAG members on progress and constraints facing EPI and the expected role of NITAG for supporting EPI. 

27th Inter-country meeting of national managers of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation

Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt 16 September, 2012 to 19 September, 2012

The 27th inter-country meeting for national EPI managers was organised by WHO/EMRO from 16-19 September 2012 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

The meeting was attended by participants from the following countries: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Republic of South Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Republic of Yemen; as well as by RTAG and NITAG members, WHO, UNICEF , CDC, AMP, Sabin Vaccine Institute and NESI. The meeting was officially opened by Dr. Ala Alwan, Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Region.

The objectives of the meeting included:

  • To review national and regional progress in EPI: achievements, constraints and way forward
  • To discuss recent advances in new vaccines and technologies: progress, constraints and the challenges facing their use

The meeting discussed the following sessions:

  • Global and regional briefings: update on global situation of EPI; briefing on SAGE sessions and the Global Vaccine Action Plan
  • Reaching and sustaining high access to routine immunisation in difficult situations
  • Achieving the regional targets: polio eradication, measles/rubella elimination, maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination, hepatitis B control
  • Introduction of new vaccines: global situation, strengthening decision making process for new vaccine introduction, role of NITAG in supporting new vaccine introduction, lessons learned from introduction of new vaccines in the Eastern Mediterranean Region
  • Strengthening EPI to meet the targets: improving programme management, improving monitoring and evaluation of EPI, improving vaccine management and logistics, sustainable immunisation financing. 

Global New and Under-utilised Vaccines Implementation meeting

Marrakech, Morocco 15 May, 2012 to 17 May, 2012

The sixth Global Meeting on Implementing New and Under-utilized Vaccines (NUVI) was organized by WHO/HQ from 15 to 17 May 2012 in Marrakech, Morocco. The meeting was attended by 116 participants including representatives of Ministries of Health from 12 countries, WHO, UNICEF, partner agencies, universities, NGOs and manufacturers.

The main objective of the meeting was to create a forum for immunisation partners working at global, regional and country levels, both in the private and public sectors, to discuss issues related to the introduction of new and under-utilized vaccines, and to review the progress in the implementation of the Global Plan of Action for New and Under-Utilized Vaccines.

The meeting started with a plenary session, setting the stage for the discussions throughout the meeting. The session addressed lessons learned with the introduction of rotavirus, pneumococcal and meningococcal A conjugate vaccines.

Working group sessions focused on the following topics:

  • Pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccine: experiences with implementation
  • Immunisation programme planning and monitoring
  • New vaccines, immunisation and health systems strengthening
  • Supply chain and logistics - country preparedness for NUVI
  • Delivery of Human Papilloma Virus vaccines
  • Assessing the disease impact of new and under-utilised vaccines
  • Strategies for middle-income and GAVI graduating countries

The following topics were identified as NUVI priorities for 2012/13: supporting introduction of pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines, improve and disseminate cost-effectiveness tools, support NITAGs and NRAs, identify ways to make vaccines more affordable, strengthen supply chains and logistics, improve capacity of human resources for immunisation, improve vaccine impact assessment and data quality, and improve monitoring of vaccine safety. 

Advocacy event: LUMIMA

Ghent, Belgium 10 May, 2012

On 10 May 2012 the International Centre for Reproductive Health (ICRH), based at the University of Ghent, Belgium, organised the interactive event LUMIMA, an information and sensitization initiative within the framework of the Belgian Development Cooperation Days.

LUMIMA started in the afternoon with 'Think & Taste', an information market (Figure 9) around the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 (reducing child mortality and improving maternal health). Various organisations working in the field related to MDG 4 and 5 were present: Amnesty International, Because Health, Doctors without Borders, MEMISA, NESI, SENSOA, UNICEF, and many others.

Parallel with the information market, several videos from the organisations present were shown. Presentations related to MDG 4 and 5 were given by several experts in the field. The keynote lecture was given by Prof. Marleen Temmerman, director of ICRH, now the Director of the Department of Reproductive Health and Research at WHO/HQ.

In the evening, a quiz was organised, in which the participants could challenge some eminent professors and celebrities regarding their knowledge on MDG 4 and 5. 

Strategic Advisory Group of Experts meetings

Geneva, Switzerland 10 April, 2012 to 12 April, 2012

The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) Meetings were organised by WHO from 10 to 12 April 2012, and from 6 to 8 November 2012, in Geneva, Switzerland. SAGE advises WHO on overall global policies and strategies, ranging from vaccine research and development, to delivery of immunisation services and linking immunisation with other health interventions. SAGE usually meets twice a year and reports directly to the Director-General of WHO.

In addition to the regular SAGE meetings, an extraordinary SAGE meeting was organised from 16 to 17 February 2012 to review the Global Vaccine Action Plan for the Decade of Vaccines.

The first session of SAGE usually covers the reports from WHO/IVB and the GAVI Alliance. This is followed by regional reports and other related topics.

SAGE is an excellent opportunity for NESI to network but also for understanding the rationale underpinning most of WHO's recommendations on vaccines and immunisation. These evidence-based arguments subsequently can be rapidly included in NESI's training/teaching activities enriching discussions with the most recent information, especially relevant for vaccinology courses and immunisation management courses. 

International Conference on Cancer Control in the Middle-East and Africa

Marrakech, Morocco 12 January, 2012 to 14 January, 2012

An International Conference on Cancer Control in the Middle-East and Africa (MEA) was organised by the Lalla Salma Association against Cancer in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and WHO, from 12 to 14 January 2012 in Marrakech, Morocco. The theme of the conference was "Which strategy for Cervical Cancer Prevention and which strategy for Cooperation and Access to cancer care in the Middle-East and Africa".

The objectives of the conference were:

a) to review the situation of cervical cancer prevention in the MEA, five years after the "Rabat Call" launched at the First Symposium on Cervical Cancer Prevention;
b) to examine models of successful programmes of vaccination and early detection of cervical cancer in MEA and other regions;
c) to review the role of International Organisations and Non-Governmental Organisations in cancer control;
d) to review existing Access Projects to cancer care in the MEA and other regions;
e) propose recommendations and perspectives for cervical cancer prevention; and
f) to propose recommendations and perspectives for cooperation and access to cancer care in MEA region.

The conference was under the chairmanship of Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Salma and with participation of First Ladies and Princesses from several countries in the MEA Region. Health programme managers, scientists, experts from international organisations, NGOs and other associations active in cancer prevention and control attended the conference.

NESI participated actively in the sessions and workshops on HPV vaccination and early detection of cervical cancer. 

2011

Third Annual Regional Conference on Immunisation; Decade of Vaccines Collaboration Consultation; and 18th African Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Committee

Windhoek, Namibia 5 December, 2011 to 8 December, 2011

The third Annual Regional Conference on Immunisation (ARCI), organised by WHO/AFRO, took place from 5 to 7 December 2011 in Windhoek, Namibia, followed by the Decade of Vaccines (DoV) Collaboration Consultation, and the African Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Committee (ARICC), on 8 December 2011.

The theme for the third ARCI meeting was "Towards a polio-free Africa".

Participants received an update on attaining the polio eradication milestones in Africa, as well as highlighting the need to continue to strengthen health and surveillance systems. The meeting emphasised the importance of routine immunisation and reaching the unreached to better control and prevent unnecessary deaths and suffering.

The following items were addressed during three plenary sessions:

(1) Achieving polio eradication milestones;
(2) Strengthening immunisation systems; and
(3) Accelerating the control of vaccine-preventable diseases.
 
In addition to the plenary sessions, two parallel sessions were organised.
 
The first parallel session discussed:
(1) Interrupting wild polio virus transmission in priority countries;
(2) Polio eradication, the remaining challenges.
 
The second parallel sessions were built around:
(1) Reaching the unreached;
(2) New vaccines and their impact on disease burden;
(3) Immunisation financing challenges.

Throughout the three sessions on "poster presentations and video clips", the training DVD developed by the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation of Kenya, WHO and NESI, on "The introduction of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine in Kenya" was shown.

The ARCI meeting was organised back-to-back with the Decade of Vaccines Collaboration.

The Decade of Vaccines Collaboration is an effort under the leadership of WHO, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the United States National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases that will further define the DoV vision and develop a Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP). 

More than 180 participants including Ministry of Health representatives, EPI managers, WHO and UNICEF staff, Civil Society Organizations, donors and academics/researchers took part in the briefing session and small group discussion session. Discussions were built around the following themes: (1) Needs and opportunities in immunisation for the countries over the next decade; (2) Countries commit to immunisation as a priority; (3) Equity of service delivery; (4) Integration of immunisation systems into strengthened health systems; and (5) Operational and implementation research needs at country level.

NESI contributed to the discussions in the group on “Integration of immunisation systems into strengthened health systems” and recommended that the section should be aligned with the Health Systems Building Blocks. The consultation made recommendations on how to improve the GVAP draft document: increase emphasis in the document on capacity building for both health training institutions and health care workers, coordination and public private partnerships; include reference to MDGs; align sections with Health Systems Building Blocks.

The last meeting in Windhoek was the ARICC meeting, which gathered a wide group of donors to international immunisation efforts, development banks and national governments to discuss the financial sustainability of immunisation programmes in Africa. WHO, UNICEF and GAVI presented their 2011 financial reports. WHO/AFRO presented the strategic directions for the immunisation programme, as well as the plan of action for 2012. Contribution statements were made by donors and partners. NESI pledged continued technical and financial support for capacity building activities in the African Region.

 

Inter-country meeting on Measles Control/Elimination

Dubai, UAE 17 October, 2011 to 19 October, 2011

An inter-country meeting on measles control/elimination was organised by WHO/EMRO from 17-19 October 2011 in Dubai, UAE.

The meeting was attended by participants from the following countries: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Republic of South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Republic of Yemen; as well as by RTAG and NITAG members, CDC, UNICEF and NESI.

The objectives of the meeting included:

  • To review and follow up on the progress in implementing the strategic plan for measles elimination;
  • To review achievements of measles surveillance indicator targets;
  • To review measles elimination validation process in the countries near elimination;
  • To review and update the national plans for strengthening measles/rubella elimination and control programmes.

The meeting was organised around plenary sessions, but countries were also tasked with group work to review their respective situation of measles elimination in relation to population immunity and towards achieving the target of measles surveillance performance indicators.

The Eastern Mediterranean Region has set 2015 as target for measles elimination from all countries in the Region. Measles mortality reduction target is 90% mortality reduction by 2012 compared to 2000 levels. Strategies to achieve measles control/elimination include: achieving high population immunity, strong case-based laboratory surveillance and case management.

The reported vaccination coverage is improving and measles surveillance is progressing well. The commitment of EMR countries towards measles elimination was renewed in the 58th session of the Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean "Scaling up the Expanded Programme on Immunisation to meet global and regional targets".

In 2011, there was no Regional EPI Managers meeting organised for the Eastern Mediterranean Region. Therefore, attending the Measles control/elimination meeting was an excellent opportunity for NESI to discuss potential activities in specific countries with EPI staff and other immunisation partners. 

Global New and Under-utilized Vaccines Implementation Meeting

Montreux, Switzerland 22 June, 2011 to 24 June, 2011

The fifth Global Meeting on Implementing New and Under-utilized Vaccines (NUVI) was organized by WHO/HQ from 22 to 24 June 2011 in Montreux, Switzerland. The meeting was attended by 125 participants including representatives of Ministries of Health from 18 countries, WHO, UNICEF, partner agencies, universities, NGOs and manufacturers.

The main objective of the meeting was to create a forum for immunisation partners working at global, regional and country levels, both in the private and public sectors, to discuss issues related to the introduction of new and under-utilized vaccines, and to review the progress in the implementation of the Global Plan of Action for New and Under-Utilized Vaccines Implementation. The overall theme of the 2011 NUVI meeting was "Sustaining the gains of new vaccine introduction".

The meeting started with a plenary session, setting the stage for the discussions throughout the meeting. Work group discussions focussed on six key subject areas.

The following topics were addressed during the plenary sessions:

  • Programmatic achievements including progress with implementation of Hib, pneumococcal, rotavirus, epidemic meningococcal and HPV vaccines and prioritizing activities for the next 12 months, including a review of recommendations from last year's workshops;
  • An update from GAVI and other partners on the status of funding available for new vaccines as well as new policies;
  • Review of lessons learned from Pneumococcal, Rotavirus and Meningitis A vaccine introductions.

Working group sessions focused on the following topics:

  • Prioritization of vaccines at country level;
  • Review of immunisation schedules for pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines;
  • The vaccine supply and pricing situation;
  • Delivery strategies for HPV, Typhoid, Japanese Encephalitis and Rubella vaccines;
  • Communication and advocacy for new vaccines introduction;
  • Human resource needs for new vaccines implementation.
It was concluded that rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccine introductions should be prioritised, followed by preparations for HPV introduction and support for the introduction of underused regional vaccines such as Yellow Fever, Japanese Encephalitis, Meningitis A, Typhoid and Cholera vaccines.
In a final voting session, participants prioritized the following supportive tasks for 2012: make vaccines more affordable, strengthen immunisation delivery systems, increase national ownership and financing of NUVI, improve human resources for immunisation and improve surveillance data quality. 

Strategic Advisory Group of Experts meetings

Geneva, Switzerland 5 April, 2011 to 7 April, 2011

The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) meetings were organised by WHO from 5 to 7 April 2011, and from 8 to 10 November 2011, in Geneva, Switzerland. SAGE advises WHO on overall global policies and strategies, ranging from vaccine research and development, to delivery of immunisation services and linking immunisation with other health interventions. SAGE meets twice a year and reports directly to the Director-General of WHO. The first session of SAGE usually covers the reports from WHO/IVB and the GAVI Alliance. This is followed by regional reports.

SAGE is for NESI an excellent opportunity for networking but also for understanding the rationale underpinning most of WHO's recommendations on vaccines and immunisation. These evidence-based arguments subsequently can be rapidly included in NESI's training/teaching activities enriching discussions with the most recent information, especially relevant for vaccinology courses and immunisation management courses. 

EPI Managers Meeting for Eastern and Southern Africa

Harare, Zimbabwe 22 March, 2011 to 23 March, 2011

The Annual EPI Managers meeting for Eastern and Southern Africa was organised by the WHO/Inter-Country Support Team (IST) from Eastern and Southern Africa from 22 to 23 March 2011, in Harare, Zimbabwe.

The meeting was attended by National EPI managers of all 19 countries of  Eastern and Southern Africa, WHO staff, members of the Task force on Immunisation, UNICEF and immunisation partners (American Red Cross, Clinton Health Access Initiative, GAVI, MCHIP, NESI, PATH, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, CDC, Rotary International).

The overall objective of the meeting was to assess the immunisations performance in all the 19 countries of Eastern and Southern Africa and to map the way forward for the programme.

Specific objectives of the meeting were:

  • To discuss and propose strategies for realizing the IVD priorities for the current year;
  • To identify the gaps in performance indicators for IVD priority areas realized during the previous year and propose innovative ways for closing the gaps;
  • To identify the technical support available to countries at the different organizational levels (RO, IST & CO) in order to ensure that targets in priority areas, for the current year, are achieved;
  •  To share experiences and chart the way forward on implementing the Reaching Every District strategy;
  • To improve capacity of country staff to sustain AFP surveillance and integrate AFP surveillance with other disease surveillance activities including Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR);
  • To share experiences in addressing accelerated disease control through conducting immunization campaigns in the course of the year and provide guidance on planning for high quality campaigns;
  • To provide a forum for the updating and discussion of issues related to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization;
  • To orient country staff on the need to collect, analyze, and use accurate, up-to-date and timely data and agree on the effective utilization of standardized tools to address gaps in data quality.

Attending the EPI managers meeting is an excellent opportunity for NESI to discuss and plan joint activities with EPI staff and other immunization partners in specific countries.

2010

Global New And Under-utilized Vaccines Implementation Meeting

Montreux, Switzerland 23 June, 2010 to 25 June, 2010

The Global Meeting in Implementing New and Under-utilized Vaccines (NUVI) was organized by WHO/HQ .

The main objective of the meeting was to create a forum for individuals working at global, regional and country levels, both in the private and public sectors, to discuss issues related  to the introduction of new and under-utilized vaccines.

The meeting provided an update on progress in new vaccines implementation in the last year, and improved understanding of issues and constraints faced by countries and stakeholders in introducing new vaccines. It also helped to provide a clearer understanding on roles and responsibilities of partners.

All countries in the Eastern and Mediterranean Region participated in the first Vaccination Week.

Strategic Advisory Group of Experts meetings

Geneva, Switzerland 13 April, 2010 to 15 April, 2010

The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) meetings were orginised by the WHO from 13 to 15 April 2010 and from 9 to 11 November 2010. SAGE advises WHO on overall global policies and strategies, ranging from vaccine research and development, to delivery of immunisation services and linking immunisation with other health interventions. SAGE usually meets twice a year and reports directly to the Director-General of WHO.

SAGE is for NESI an excellent opportunity for networking but also for understanding the rationale underpinning most of WHO’s recommendations on vaccines and immunisation. These evidence-based arguments subsequently can be rapidly included in NESI’s training/teaching activities enriching discussions with the most recent information, especially relevant for vaccinology courses and immunisation management courses.

The first session of SAGE usually covers the reports from WHO/IVB and the GAVI Alliance. This is followed by regional reports: in April 2010 the reports from Africa, Eastern Mediterranean and South East Asia were discussed. In November 2010 the other WHO regions were covered (Americas, Europe and Western Pacific Region).

An interesting topic discussed in November was the Decade of Vaccine Initiative; This is a vision for the next ten years to achieve immunisation goals and key milestones in the discovery, development and delivery of lifesaving vaccines, with a focus on children and the poor.

(1) Strengthening public support for vaccine use and financing;

(2) Expanding the reach of delivery programmes;

(3) Maintaining a strong pipeline of R&D; and

(4) Exploring strategies to ensure global access to sufficient supplies of highly affordable vaccines.

EPI Managers Meeting For Eastern And Southern Africa

Maputo, Mozambique 10 March, 2010 to 12 March, 2010

The Annual EPI Managers meeting for Eastern and Southern Africa was organized by the WHO/Inter-Country Support Team (IST) from Eastern and Southern Africa.

The meeting was attended by National EPI managers, UN Agencies, immunisation partners and members of the Task force on Immunisation. The meeting was officially opened by the Minister of Health of Mozambique, Prof. Paulo Ivo Garrido.

The objectives of this meeting were:

(1) to share progress in implementation of immunisation programme activities in the sub-Region;

(2) to exchange technical updates and up-to-date scientific developments;

(3) to identify and advance solutions in immunisation financing in the sub-region; and

(4) to create awareness on immunisation and related activities.

The meeting was organised around seven themes: (1) Routine immunisation services delivery: reaching un-vaccinated children; (2) Data quality; (3) New vaccines introduction; (4) Financing immunisation programmes; (5) Polio eradication; (6) Accelerated disease control (measles, MNT), and (7) Integration.

Global Immunisation Meeting

Geneva, Switzerland 1 February, 2010 to 3 February, 2010

The fifth Annual Global Immunisation Meeting was organized by WHO/HQ. NESI was invited to attend.

The objectives of the meeting were:

(1) to update on progress of the Global Immunization Vision and Strategy (GIVS) and the global immunisation and mortality reduction goals in the overall framework of the Millennium Development Goals;

(2) to share policy decisions and recommendations from the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) and other technical/advisory bodies; and

(3) to provide WHO and UNICEF global and regional staff, as well as immunisation partner representatives, with technical updates focusing on the programmatic issues related to the global immunisation efforts, including reaching the unreached.

The agenda was built around the four strategic areas of GIVS. Side meetings were held  and NESI actively participated in the following side meetings: Hepatitis birth dose/ Making pregnancy safer and EPI collaboration/Lessons learned from the Hib initiative/Global action plan for pneumonia prevention and control.

2009

Global New and Under-utilized Vaccines Implementation Meeting

Montreux, Switzerland 16 June, 2009 to 18 June, 2009

NESI was invited to attend The Global New and Under-utilised vaccines implementation meeting, organised by WHO.

The objectives of the meeting included to review and discuss key issues in new and underutilised vaccine introduction among immunisation partners:

(1) Programmatic achievements including progress with implementation of Hib, pneumococcal, rotavirus and other vaccines, and prioritising for the next 12 months;

(2) Integrated approaches to pneumonia and diarrhoea prevention, control and managemGlobent;

(3) Understanding the decision-making process for new vaccines introduction (e.g. cost-effectiveness analysis, advocacy with national advisory committees, strengthening of NRA);

(4) Supporting countries in strengthening the introduction processes (review of cold chain and logistics, training);

(5) Crisis and pre-emptive communication in response to AEFI, anti-vaccination information and rumours. 

Global Immunisation Meeting

New York, USA 17 February, 2009 to 19 February, 2009

NESI was invited to attend The Fourth Global Immunisation Meeting, organised by WHO and UNICEF.

The objectives of the meeting included:

(1) to update on progress of the Global Immunization Vision and Strategy and the global immunisation and mortality reduction goals in the overall framework of the Millennium Development Goals;

(2) to share policy decisions and recommendations from the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) and other technical/advisory bodies; and

(3) to provide WHO and UNICEF global and regional staff, as well as immunisation partner representatives, with technical updates focusing on the programmatic issues related to the global immunisation efforts, including reaching the un-reached. 

Last updated: 17 June, 2019