Education & Training: In-service training 2015

Vaccinology Courses

11th Annual African vaccinology course

Cape Town, South Africa 9 November, 2015 to 13 November, 2015

The 11th Annual African Vaccinology course was organised in Cape Town, South Africa, from 9 to 13 November 2015, and was hosted by the Vaccine for Africa Initiative (VACFA), based at the University of Cape Town.

The objectives of the course were to introduce participants to the various disciplines associated with vaccinology including immunology, vaccine development, microbiology, epidemiology, clinical trials, safety, ethics, evidence-based medicine, advocacy and communication, introduction of new vaccines. At the end of the course, participants will have the necessary expertise to support national immunisation programmes, and to support phase I-IV vaccine trials in Africa.

The course was attended by 62 participants from 27 African countries (representing the five regions: North, South, East, West and Central), with the following profile: EPI managers and staff, medical doctors, nurses, public health specialists, academics and scientists working in the field of vaccinology.

Lecturers included experts in the field of vaccinology from academia, industry and private practice. NESI was invited by VACFA to give lectures on the following topics: Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP); and Vaccination schedules: past, present and future. NESI was also part of the "meet the experts" session; a session that allowed for questions and discussions.

3rd Regional vaccinology course for Francophone countries

Mbour, Senegal 12 September, 2015 to 19 September, 2015

The 3rd Regional Vaccinology Course for Francophone countries was organised by WHO/AFRO from 12-19 September 2015 in Mbour, Senegal, in collaboration with UNICEF, Stellenbosch University and NESI/University of Antwerp.

A total of 58 participants attended the course, comprising of EPI managers, staff of WHO and UNICEF responsible for vaccines and immunisation, lecturers of medical and nursing schools, and members of National Immunisation Technical Advisory Groups (NITAGs) from Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Congo, Comoros, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Madagascar, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.

The facilitators were from WHO (AFRO and Headquarters), UNICEF, NESI/University of Antwerp (Belgium) and Stellenbosch University (South Africa).

The primary objective of the course was, for the participants to master basic immunology concepts and the scientific basis of immunisation, the development of vaccines, introduction of new vaccines and the challenges of the use of current vaccines in African immunisation programmes. The secondary objective was for the participants to acquire knowledge and competencies, to enable them advise, train and coordinate capacity building activities in vaccines and immunisation in their respective countries.

Each module was followed by group work, to evaluate the acquired understanding and knowledge of participants and to ensure that the course objectives were met. During the last day of the course, eleven countries presented their experiences with pre-service training in vaccinology at their respective institutions. Some new developments in the area of vaccines and immunisation were discussed and the need to update the curricula at training institutions in line with these new developments was stressed.

Participants recommended that WHO and partners should continue to provide support, disseminate the revised EPI prototype curricula and support operational research.

Advanced Course of Vaccinology (ADVAC)

Veyrier-du-Lac, France 11 May, 2015 to 22 May, 2015

The 16th Advanced Course of Vaccinology (ADVAC) was organised by Fondation Mérieux and the University of Geneva, at Veyrier-du-Lac, France, from 11 to 22 May 2015.

The ADVAC course is a two-week training programme for decision-makers, academia, industry, governmental and non-governmental agencies, in all fields related to vaccines and immunisation. The course aims to facilitate decision-making in vaccinology by providing participants with a comprehensive overview, from immunology to vaccine development and clinical trials to social, economic, political and ethical issues of vaccination. The 16th ADVAC course was attended by 73 participants from 41 countries, from both developing and industrialised countries.

The course was facilitated by over 60 international lecturers and working group facilitators, all experts in vaccinology. NESI was invited to co-facilitate the working group on "National decision making for immunisation programmes".

"TropEd" Advanced Vaccinology Course

Berlin, Germany 12 January, 2015 to 23 January, 2015

The TropEd Advanced Vaccinology Course was organised by the Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health (ITMIH), Berlin, and NESI/UAntwerp, from 12 to 23 January 2015 in Berlin, Germany. The course is an accredited module (3.5 ECTS credit points) of the TropEd Masters Programme in International Health. TropEd is a network of institutions for higher education in International Health, including European and non-European institutions. It was the second time that the course was organised over two weeks, following faculty and student recommendations from previous courses. The accreditation for the two-weeks course was obtained in October 2013 and is valid until October 2018.

Eighteen participants from both industrialised and developing countries attended the course. Among the participants was one NITAG member from Kenya.

Lecturers came from the Universities of Cape Town and Limpopo (South Africa), Gavi (Switzerland), Ministry of Health of Ghana, Robert Koch Institute (Germany), Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health (Germany), Freie Universität Berlin (Germany), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (UK), WHO/HQ (Switzerland), GlaxoSmithKline (Belgium and Germany) and NESI/UAntwerp (Belgium).

Teaching methods included seminar-style and interactive lectures, exercises and group work on specific target diseases. A visit was brought to the Robert Koch Institute overseeing Germany's vaccination programme.

Experience Exchange Meeting

HPV Workshop: "Implementing HPV vaccination in Africa: opportunities for strengthening adolescent health."

Johannesburg, South Africa 5 October, 2015 to 7 October, 2015

The workshop on "Implementing HPV vaccination in Africa: opportunities for strengthening adolescent health" was organised by SAVIC/Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South African Medical Research Council and NESI/University of Antwerp in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 5 to 7 October 2015. The workshop was officially opened by the Vice-Chancellor of Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University.

A total of 54 delegates (participants and facilitators) participated in the workshop. Participants included: representatives of the Ministry of Health of Botswana, Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe; a representative of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education of Zimbabwe; and WHO representatives of Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Facilitators were from: WHO, Gavi, South African Medical Research Council and academia (University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University, University of the Witwatersrand, University of the Free State, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and University of Antwerp).

The objectives of the workshop were to:

  1. Promote successful and effective introduction of HPV vaccination and other adolescent health interventions in the southern African region;
  2. Create a multi-disciplinary resourceful team of experts to support and advocate for the introduction of HPV vaccines and other adolescent health interventions in the southern African region; and
  3. Increase synergy between academics, educators and Ministries of Health to revive and strengthen school-based health programmes as delivery platforms of adolescent immunisation services in the southern African region.

The first day of the workshop comprised of presentations highlighting key aspects of cervical cancer, HPV screening, HPV vaccines, adolescent health interventions, delivery platform for HPV vaccination, and effective communication strategies for building public trust in HPV vaccination.

The second day of the workshop focused on country presentations which were grouped in three sessions: (a) countries with a national HPV vaccination programme; (b) countries with a demonstration project; (c) countries planning for HPV vaccine introduction.

During the third day of the workshop country group presentations were made, highlighting for each country the strengths, gaps and challenges based on the feedback received during the individual country presentations on the second day. Countries also identified opportunities to collaborate in assisting each other in successful implementation of HPV vaccination and other adolescent health services. The last session of the workshop focused on monitoring and evaluation, the importance of a cancer registry and measuring the impact of HPV vaccination. Closing remarks were given by the South African National Department of Health Chief Director: Child, Youth and School Health, the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences of SMU and the Deputy Representative of the Government of Flanders.

The workshop was well appreciated by the participants as proven by the daily evaluations. Providing a forum for the countries to present their current status of HPV vaccination and exchange best practices and challenges, resulted in building an international multi-disciplinary network of experts and in increased ownership of the workshop.



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HPV Symposium and Stakeholders meeting: "Implementing HPV vaccination in Africa: opportunities for strengthening adolescent health."

Pretoria, South Africa 24 March, 2015 to 25 March, 2015

The South African Vaccination and Immunisation Centre (SAVIC)/Sefako Makgatho University, the South African Medical Research Council (SA-MRC) and the Network for Education and Support in Immunisation (NESI)/University of Antwerp, organised a Symposium on "Implementing HPV vaccination in Africa: opportunities for strengthening adolescent health" in Pretoria, South Africa, on 24 March 2015. Also, on 25 March 2015, a Stakeholders Meeting was organised for the joint SAVIC/NESI Project "Improving skills and institutional capacity to strengthen country adolescent immunisation programmes and health systems in the African Region". The Symposium (24 March 2015) was attended by a total of 57 delegates from 13 countries (Belgium, Congo-Brazzaville, Ghana, Indonesia, Jordan, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Switzerland, Uganda, United Kingdom, Zambia, Zimbabwe). The delegates were from international agencies (including the World Health Organization African Region [WHO/AFRO] and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance), academic institutions, Ministries of Health, and the vaccine industry. The Stakeholders Meeting (25 March 2015) was attended by a total of 22 delegates from 10 countries (Belgium, Congo-Brazzaville, Ghana, South Africa, Swaziland, Switzerland, Uganda, United Kingdom, Zambia, Zimbabwe). The delegates were from universities (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; NESI/University of Antwerp; SAVIC/Sefako Makgatho University; Stellenbosch University; University of Free State; University of Ghent); ministries of health (Ghana, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe); national (SA-MRC) and international (Gavi and WHO/AFRO) agencies.

The objectives of the Symposium were to (a) update delegates on the global burden of cervical cancer with an emphasis on primary and secondary prevention; (b) discuss the introduction of HPV vaccination programmes in Africa with an emphasis on integrating HPV vaccination with other adolescent health interventions, and highlighting ethical considerations; (c) share country experiences with advocacy, communication and social mobilization towards the uptake of HPV vaccination; (d) share country experiences with programmatic and other issues when introducing HPV vaccination programmes.

The objectives of the Stakeholders Meeting were to (a) compile/develop training materials that can be easily adapted to specific country needs and used as national resources to facilitate introduction of HPV vaccination and other adolescent health interventions in the African region; and (b) develop a common framework to guide cascading of training in various countries, with the overall objective of promoting successful and effective introduction of HPV vaccination and other adolescent health interventions.

These meetings were made possible through a grant from the Flemish Government, with some added support from the vaccine industry. Both meetings were a great success, and will be followed by the first of two workshops for the joint SAVIC/NESI Project "Improving skills and institutional capacity to strengthen country adolescent immunisation programmes and health systems in the African Region", to be held in Johannesburg from 5-7 October 2015.

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Last updated: 29 March, 2018