The Regional Immunization Technical Advisory Group (RITAG) Meeting was held from 6-7 June 2017 in Brazzaville, Congo. RITAG serves as the principal advisory group to the WHO Regional Office for Africa for strategic guidance on vaccines and immunisation. RITAG reports directly to the WHO Regional Director for Africa and advises the Regional Director on overall regional policies and strategies, ranging from vaccine and technology research and development, to delivery of immunisation services and linkages between immunisation and other health interventions.
All members are acknowledged experts with an outstanding record of achievement in their own field and an understanding of the immunisation issues covered by the RITAG. They have a responsibility to provide WHO with high quality, well-considered advice and recommendations on immunisation matters.
Over 100 participants attended the meeting, including 11 RITAG members from across Africa, 2 members of the WHO Strategic Advisory Group on Immunization (SAGE), 12 national EPI managers representing 12 countries in all three regions (Central Africa, Eastern and Southern Africa, and Western Africa), WHO staff from WHO/HQ, WHO/AFRO, WHO/EMRO, WHO/IST/Central, WHO/IST/ESA, WHOIST/West, and 10 WHO country offices, as well as partners from the following organisations: APHRC, American Red Cross, CDC, Deloitte, Ethiopian Pediatric Society, Gavi, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, NESI/UAntwerp, Results UK, Rotary International, UN Foundation, UNICEF, USAID, and Village Reach.
Major topics in the meeting agenda included: Immunization Coverage, HPV Vaccine Introduction in the WHO African Region, Polio Eradication & End-Game Strategy, Building Resilient VPD Surveillance in the African Region, RTS,S Malaria Vaccine, and Drafting RITAG Recommendations. A Gavi side meeting was also held to update participants on revisions to Gavi's measles/rubella, HPV support and vaccine management requirements.
The Africa Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Committee (ARICC) also met during this gathering to review and adopt a number of recommendations for immunisation programme efforts in the region. Additionally, there was an Immunisation Partner meeting in which stakeholders from the various partner agencies expressed their support for WHO/AFRO’s activities and recommendations.