Networking & Advocacy: Activities 2017

Inauguration of the Institut de Recherche en Santé, de Surveillance Épidémiologique et de Formation (IRESSEF) and Scientific Symposium

Dakar, Senegal 19 June, 2017 to 20 June, 2017

The Inauguration of the Institut de Recherche en Santé, de Surveillance Épidémiologique et de Formation (IRESSEF) [Institute for Health Research, Epidemiological Surveillance and Training] was held from 19 to 20 June 2017 in Dakar, Senegal. IRESSEF has the ambition to become a leading hub for health research, epidemiology and training in Senegal and the wider African Region.

The inauguration was presided over by the President of Senegal, His Excellency Mr Macky Sall. The inauguration was part of an international scientific symposium was held, “Building partnerships to advance surveillance and response to disease threats, laboratory quality management systems and access to quality diagnostics, and public health in Africa.”

For further information about IRESSEF, please visit their website:  

Regional Immunization Technical Advisory Group (RITAG) Meeting

Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo 6 June, 2017 to 7 June, 2017

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. 

Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) Meetings

Geneva, Switzerland 25 April, 2017 to 27 April, 2017
The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) meetings were organised by WHO from 25 to 27 April 2017, and from 17 to 19 October 2017, 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 2017 meeting included the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, cholera, Ebola vaccines, and diphtheria. Topics discussed in October 2017 were Global Polio Eradication Initiative, typhoid vaccines, pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV), rabies vaccines, Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, and a GVAP progress report. 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.

Annual EPI Managers Meeting for Eastern and Southern Africa

Kampala, Uganda 20 March, 2017 to 22 March, 2017

The annual EPI Managers Meeting for Eastern and Southern Africa was organised by WHO/Inter-country Support Team from Eastern and Southern Africa from 20 to 22 March 2017, in Kampala, Uganda.

The meeting was attended by 186 participants, including EPI managers, academics, WHO and UNICEF EPI focal points from 20 countries from Eastern and Southern Africa, as well as immunisation partners including: African Population and Health Research Center, Inc. (APHRC), American Red Cross, BMGF, Bull City Learning, CDC, CHAI, MCSP/JSI, East African Community (EAC), Gavi, NESI/UAntwerp, USAID, and Village Reach.

The overall objectives of the meeting were to update Program Managers and partners on progress in the implementation of the Regional Immunization Strategic Plan, 2014 – 2020 in East and Southern Africa; and to inform and share the RITAG Recommendations and the adoption of the Addis Declaration on Immunization (ADI) and the implementation of the ADI road map.

The meeting’s four sessions were:

  • Session 1: Regional Immunization Strategic Plan 2014-2020 and the Ministerial Declaration on Immunization Roadmap
  • Session 2: Routine Immunization, New Vaccine Introduction and Accelerated Immunization Initiative
  • Session 3: Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI)
  • Session 4 : Meeting recommendations and closing ceremony

By the end of the meeting, participants were updated on progress in the implementation of the Regional Immunization Strategic Plan, RITAG recommendations and Adoption of ADI and implementation roadmap shared. Attending the EPI Managers meeting was an excellent opportunity for NESI to discuss and plan joint activities with EPI staff and other immunisation partners.

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Last updated: 13 February, 2018