Technical Support Activities 2019

VACFA Board Meeting, Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town, South Africa, 7 November 2019
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 7 November 2019, during the 15th Annual African Vaccinology Course.

Training in immunisation: Vaccinology Short Courses, Pretoria, South Africa
Pretoria, South Africa, 30 to 31 October 2019
The South African Vaccination and Immunisation Centre/Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SAVIC/SMU) has developed Vaccinology Short Courses (VSC), based on the Higher Certificate in Vaccinology, which are organised three times a year. The VSC cover the 11 modules over three sessions.

The duration of each session is two days. The first day comprises of interactive lectures, while the second day focuses on group work and case studies.

NESI was invited as external reviewer to attend a session of the VSC from 30 to 31 October 2019 in Pretoria, South Africa.

NITAG Partners Retreat, Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen, Denmark, 3 to 4 September 2019
The NITAG Partners Retreat was organised by WHO/HQ in Copenhagen, Denmark, from 3 to 4 September 2019. The meeting was hosted at the Regional Office of WHO/EURO.

The meeting was attended by the chair and steering committee members of the GNN, WHO/HQ, WHO/AFRO, WHO/EMRO, WHO/EURO, WHO/PAHO, CDC, Wellcome Trust, Task Force for Global Health, Robert Koch Institute, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Gavi, NESI/University of Antwerp. WHO/WPRO connected remotely.

The annual NITAG partners retreat is an important moment to exchange, align and coordinate activities with the main stakeholders involved in supporting NITAGs at various levels.

The objectives of the meeting included:

  • Review current partners activities and engagements in regions and countries
  • Present results of the scoping work
  • Discuss indicators to monitor NITAGs’ performance
  • Give an overview of the sysvac2 project
  • Identify priority areas of collaborative work
  • Tools and curricula for training
  • Stages of development framework
  • NITAG twinning formalization
  • Review the Global NITAG Network work plan and discuss meeting agenda

NESI was invited to participate in the NITAG Partners retreat and gave an overview of past and current training activities in support of NITAGs. It was also an excellent opportunity to discuss and align activities and ideas with other NITAG partners, as to avoid duplication and increase impact.

Main priorities for the coming year were agreed upon among partners and regions.

NITAGs Inter-country Workshop, Amman, Jordan
Amman, Jordan, 13 to 15 June 2019
Global Health Department/Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network (GHD/EMPHNET) organised a NITAGs inter-country workshop in Amman, Jordan, from 13 to 15 June 2019.

GHD aims to support targeted countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region to operationalize their NITAGs according to the globally approved standards, through a comprehensive process.

The objective of the workshop was to develop a common understanding about the NITAG functionality criteria and strengthen NITAGs capacity in terms of recommendation-making process. A functional and effective NITAG helps to provide answers to complex immunisation issues and contributes to the decision-making process, which should be credible, accountable and independent. Therefore, well-trained NITAGs and EPI/NITAG secretariat are of utmost importance.

Participants included NITAG chairs and EPI managers from the follwoing countries: Afghanistan, Jordan, Iraq, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia.

Representative from partner organisations attended and facilitated the workshop: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), WHO/HQ and WHO/EMRO, UNICEF, Gavi, Global NITAG Network (GNN) and NESI/University of Antwerp.

The workshop focused on the functionality of the NITAGs. Findings of the NITAGs assessment exercise that was carried out prior to the workshop were shared with the participants. All partners presented their experience with capacity building of the NITAGs. The participants were also introduced to the concept and process of evidence-based recommendation-making. A framework for monitoring NITAG functionality was discussed and agreed upon.

The training workshop was well received by the participants. They expressed the need for further training and capacity building. The participating countries committed to finalize their respective NITAG improvement plans when returning to their countries.

Training in immunisation: “Higher Certificate in Vaccinology”, Pretoria, South Africa
Pretoria, South Africa, 1 January to 31 December 2019
The South African Vaccination and Immunisation Centre/Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SAVIC/SMU) developed the online “Higher Certificate in Vaccinology” (HCert Vaccinology) programme, which is a basic introductory programme for in-service healthcare workers who work in the South African EPI programme and private sector clinics offering infant/childhood vaccination services. The training programme is divided into 2 blocks consisting of 11 modules over 30 weeks. Accreditation for the Higher Certificate in Vaccinology was received in 2018.

NESI was invited by SAVIC/SMU to be external moderator for three modules: (1) Introduction to immune response against infectious diseases; (2) Introduction to vaccinology; and (3) Introduction to vaccine manufacture and distribution.

Last updated: May 28, 2020

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