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.