Highlights from This Year’s Global Immunization Meeting: Navigating Transitions

Estimated readtime: 3.5 min

This year’s Global Immunization Meeting (GIM) took place on June 26-28, 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda. Approximately 240 participants attended, including Ministry of Health representatives from LNCT members,  Ghana, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, and Timor Leste. The topics covered ranged from the challenges associated with transitioning from donor financing to the future goals for global and regional immunization plans. A few presentations from the meeting, highlighted below, are of particular relevance to LNCT country teams as they move through the Gavi transition.

A.   Post-2020 Immunization Priorities

The opening plenary focused on shifts in global conditions that could potentially impact countries in transition, such as climate change, migration, and adjustments in donor priorities. The key takeaways from this plenary were the inevitability of transitioning to domestic financing of vaccines for increased stability and sustainability, and the need for an updated Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP). Select presentation materials include:

  1. Successfully Navigating Transitions, Dr. Felicitas Zawaira, Director of Family and Reproductive Health for WHO AFRO
  2. Working Together: How Integrated Immunization Programs Best Contribute to Immunization Goals and UHC, Emily Wootton, Technical Officer, World Health Organization; Dr. Chris Morgan, Head of International Development, Burnet Institute; Dr. Samitha Ginige, Consultant Epidemiologist, Epidemiology Unity, Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka; Dr. Om Prasad Gautam, Senior WASH Manager, WaterAid UK
B.    Coverage and Equity

Sessions from the second day highlighted innovations in vaccine coverage and equity including how to adapt the product selection, demand generation and vaccine acceptance, and the role of the private sector. Practical frameworks, examples, and approaches to immunization coverage and equity were presented throughout the day.

  1. Immunization Coverage and Equity: From the Birth of EPI to the SDGs, Dr. Robin Nandy, Principal Advisor and Chief of Immunization, UNICEF; Ola Rosling, President & Co-founder, Gapminder Foundation; Anna Rosling Rönnlund, Co-founder, Gapminder Foundation
  2. Product Selection for Sub-National Immunization Needs, Anna-Lea Kahn, Logistics and New Vaccine Products, World Health Organization-EPI
  3. Generating Demand and Addressing Hesitancy: How Applying Behavioral Insights Can Improve Vaccination Uptake, Benjamin Hickler, Senior Advisor, Communication for Development, UNICEF; Lori Foster, Professor of Industrial-Organizational Psychology at North Carolina State University and the University of Cape Town
  4. The Private Eye: Models of Public-Private Sector Engagement for Immunization Delivery, Daniel Ehlman, Epidemiologist, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Margaret Watkins, Epidemiologist, CDC
C.    Financing

The final plenary dove into the specific issue of immunization financing during transition. It emphasized how successful immunization programs require a well-functioning primary health care system, strong political commitment, and sufficient government funding, especially during Gavi transition.

  1. Resource Mobilization in the Context of Multiple Transitions, Logan Brenzel, Senior Programme Officer, Vaccine Delivery, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Collins Tabu, Head of Vaccine and Immunization Programme, Ministry of Health, Kenya
  2. MI4A: Market Information for Access to Vaccines, Emily Nickels, Associate, Linksbridge SPC
  3. Middle-Income Countries’ Way Forward from Gavi Support to Strategic Financing, Aurélia Nguyen, Managing Director, Vaccines & Sustainability, Gavi; Dr. Niyazi Cakmak, Team Lead, Immunization System Strengthening – VPI, WHO, Regional Office for Europe; Dr. Amos Petu, Health Economist, Immunization Financing Sustainability, Inter-country Support Team / East & Southern Africa, WHO, Regional Office for Africa; Dr. Samitha Ginige, Consultant Epidemiologist, Epidemiology Unit, Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka; Dr. Ananda Amarasinghe, Technical Officer, EPI, WHO, Regional Office for the Western Pacific
  4. Global Transitions and the Changing Face of Vaccine Economics for New Vaccine Introduction and Scale Up, Ranju Baral, Health Economist, PATH; Ginny Pitzer, Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, Yale; Chrispus Mayora, Lecturer and Doctor Fellow, University of Witwatersand; Michaela Mallow, Health Financing Analyst, ThinkWell
  5. WHO African Continent Immunization Business Case for the Continent, Dr. Richard Mihigo, Coordinator, Immunization and Vaccines Development Programme, WHO, Regional Office for Africa

At the end of the meeting, participants assessed the WHO business case that surveyed how GVAP 2020 targets have gone off track in Africa, especially as countries transition out of Gavi support. The case examined the mechanisms by which the WHO will support these countries in the future, as well as its development of a new GVAP for the coming decade.

All presentation materials from each session held at the Global Immunization Meeting are available publicly on Dropbox.

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