Technical Support Activities 2018
VACFA Board Meeting, Cape Town, South Africa
The Vaccines for Africa Initiative (VACFA) was established in 2009 at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town within the Department of Public Health and Family Medicine. The goal of VACFA is to increase awareness and to promote uptake of vaccines in the African region. Since 2017, NESI staff is member of the VACFA board.
The VACFA Board Meeting took place on 15 November 2018, during the Annual African Vaccinology Course.
Global Vaccinology Training Workshop, Annecy, France
Before the workshop, representatives of the 26 courses completed a questionnaire covering the content of their course, format, periodicity, type and number of participants, and other parameters. The workshop consisted of introductory presentations followed by plenary discussions.
The objectives of the workshop included:
- Perform a landscape analysis of major current courses, objectives, target audiences and source of funding for the course and trainees;
- Define the vaccinology education gaps and future needs around the world;
- Identify current and future best practices for training in vaccinology;
- Review the organisational and financing structure of Global Vaccinology Training;
- Promote the use of innovative and effective educational technology; and
- Identify potential areas of collaboration and cross pollination between different training initiatives.
The workshop reviewed the current status of advanced vaccinology training globally. A meeting report was published by the organisers in Vaccine.
Comprehensive review of the immunisation programme, Mauritius
WHO recommends that periodic EPI programme reviews are conducted in member countries every 3 to 5 years to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the immunisation system and vaccine-preventable disease (VPD) surveillance at all levels, with the aim to provide evidence for the strategic directions and priority activities for the immunisation programme.
The specific objectives of the review included:
- To conduct a comprehensive assessment of the organisation and implementation of the EPI programme in Mauritius
- To assess the organisation and the implementation of VPD surveillance (with specific focus on Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP), measles and AEFI) including the current measles outbreak management at all levels in Mauritius
- To conduct an immunisation data quality review (verification)
- To assess the introduction of the Hexavalent vaccine (DTP-HepB-Hib-IPV)
The review period included a desk review, training, field work including data collection and data entry, report writing and debriefing to the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life. Teams collected data through key informant interviews, document reviews and observation of immunisation practices. In addition the role of private health facilities and community health workers in immunisation service delivery were assessed. All 5 regions of Mauritius, as well as Rodrigues were included in the review.
Mauritius has a well-functioning national immunisation programme, which is fully government funded. The programme currently provides 14 antigens in various combinations, resulting in sustaining the control of vaccine-preventable diseases, including maintaining polio free status and sustaining the elimination of maternal neonatal tetanus. The introduction of new vaccines has been done smoothly without disrupting routine immunisation sessions or challenging the cold chain capacity.
However, in recent years there is an observed decline in reported coverage, which could be due to denominator issues, requiring further investigations. The current measles outbreak might indicate immunity gaps especially at sub-national level among high risk groups.
In line with global and regional targets, the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life needs to sustain its efforts for AFP surveillance, in order to maintain its polio free status. Measles and AEFI surveillance need to be strengthened.
NESI staff participated actively in the entire review process and was field team lead for two regions, and conducted interviews at the National Cold Store, Procurement Unit and the Pharmacovigilance Unit.
Teach to Reach Workshop, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
The workshop provided an opportunity for country-level, global and implementing partners to propose solutions to challenges in immunisation training. Participants were divided in six working groups, focusing on similar challenges in each group. Five groups addressed challenges in specific countries (Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tanzania) and one group addressed challenges at the Global level. Each group discussed their challenges, proposed solutions with specific goals for their target audience, implementation plan, proposed partners to assist with the implementation, required resources and needs, and monitoring and evaluation.
Experts in instructional design, curriculum development, on-the-job mentoring, and monitoring and evaluation provided guidance and input to group work throughout the process. At the end of the workshop, action plans were developed for implementing the solutions. NESI participated in the working group at Global level.
Following the close of the Teach to Reach workshop, participants were invited to join a session to document best practices in training.
During a networking event, a poster was presented by NESI.