The Yale Global Health Initiative (GHLI) joined the Rwanda-based University of Global Health Equity (UGHE), PATH, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance to strengthen management of national immunization programs around the world. The Expanded Program on Immunization Leadership and Management Program (EPI LAMP) is a training course to improve the managerial capacity of governments to support Gavi’s mission to ensure every child is protected with life-saving vaccines. “New vaccines are coming, and with that comes new complexities, but we are up to the challenge,” continued Linnander who is principal investigator for EPI LAMP.
“I am inspired by the vision and the bar being set with this program,” said Ann Kurth, dean of the Yale School of Nursing, who conveyed a message of encouragement from Yale President Salovey at the program’s launch on May 7. “We can have the technology, but we cannot do this without the human hands to deliver vaccines. The importance of workforce cannot be overstated.”
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance aims to immunize 300 million children worldwide between 2016 and 2020. Achieving this goal requires effective planning, implementation, and monitoring of immunization programs — which can challenging as ministries of health are often inadequately resourced and need support to improve their management practices. The first edition of EPI LAMP will address these challenges by providing management and leadership training for 24 participants in leadership roles in immunization programs in Gavi-supported countries, including the Gambia, India, Liberia, Rwanda, and Zambia
“At Gavi, we know that the effective management of immunization programs is key to reaching all children with life-saving vaccines,” said Gavi Deputy CEO Anuradha Gupta. “Designed jointly by the U.S.-based Yale Global Health Leadership Initiative, the Rwanda-based University of Global Health Equity, and PATH, this unique course will give our mission an important boost,” she added.
EPI LAMP’s team-based learning model is based on a blended learning approach that creates an interactive and practical education experience for mid- to senior officials. This model aims to better equip the immunization team with ways to manage the increasingly complex immunization systems in their home countries, with a focus on efficient operations, robust performance management, and effective political engagement and advocacy.
Upon returning to their home regions, the participants will continue in the program through e-learning and begin work on their project. Examples of project work includes: meeting the target rates for full immunization at 1 year of age in three priority states across India; closing the gap in coverage rates between the first and second dose of measles vaccine (Rwanda, Gambia); and raising immunization coverage rates in the seven lowest-performing counties in Liberia.
“Thoughtful leadership and effective management practices are necessary to strategically and equitably improve health systems, including making sure vaccines reach children in every corner of the world,” said UGHE Vice Chancellor Dr. Agnes Binagwaho. “By hosting this forum in Rwanda, participants will train in an environment that prepares them to both address delivery challenges, as well as inspire them to improve access to high quality care.”
EPI LAMP is led by Linnander, together with Binagwaho (co-principal investigator, UGHE) and Aziza Mwisongo (co-principal investigator, PATH). This consortium brings together GHLI’s proven management and leadership development approaches, UGHE’s commitment to innovation in education of healthcare professionals, and PATH’s global expertise in strengthening immunization systems.
GHLI leadership development programs are guided by a model of experiential learning that enhances both individual and group problem-solving capacity, develops effective relationships and organization cultures, promotes use of data for decision-making, and generates evidence-based solutions that can be scaled up.
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance welcomed final approval of the United States fiscal year 2018 appropriations bill. The budget includes US$ 290 million for Gavi, which will go towards increasing the organization’s capacity to purchase and deliver life-saving vaccines for poor and vulnerable children around the world.
The contribution to Gavi is part of the US$ 829.5 million approved for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Maternal and Child Health programs for 2018. This funding not only supports the introduction of new vaccines and innovative approaches and tools to expand equitable access to vaccines, but a range of other life-saving interventions.
“Gavi is grateful to the United States for continuing to invest in vaccines, one of the most cost-effective ways to save lives, improve health and ensure long-term prosperity,” said Gavi CEO Dr. Seth Berkley.
Dr. Berkley specifically thanked Senate State, Foreign Operations Subcommittee Chairman Lindsey Graham and the committee’s Ranking Member Senator Patrick Leahy as well as the House State, Foreign Operations Subcommittee leaders, Chairman Hal Rogers and Ranking Member Nita Lowey for their commitment to providing vaccines that are saving the lives of millions of children around the world.
Geneva-based Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, will provide US$60 million over the next two years to implement an immunisation programme in the country, largely focusing on cold chain facilities, according to the Ministry of Health and Sports.
“We are planning to set up more cold chain facilities this year. Cold storage is a vital part of the expanded immunisation programme. Vaccines must be stored in electronic or solar refrigerators to maintain the potency of the vaccine,” Dr Aung Kyaw Moe, assistant director of the Department of Public Health, told The Myanmar Times Monday.
Orange SA and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, will enter into a partnership with the Côte d'Ivoire Ministry of Health to increase immunisation rates in the regions and districts with the lowest vaccine coverage, it was announced at the World Economic Forum today.
The "M-Vaccin Côte d'Ivoire" project uses Orange mobile technology to inform parents about the importance of vaccination by sending text and voice messages in the local language. Targeted messages will also help ensure parents don’t miss immunisation sessions by reminding them of their children's schedule and dates.
"This new partnership is truly innovative and important for the children of Côte d'Ivoire," explained Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. "Parents often do not receive enough information about the importance of immunisation because they live a long way from health centres or in hard-to-reach places. These voice and text messages should therefore have a significant impact and lead to an increase in vaccine coverage."
This is as the country gets closer to losing support from the Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative, which has helped fund immunisation in years past.
It comes as lawmakers go on two days of retreat to consider strategies for immunisation and strengthening primary health care.
Muhammad Usman, deputy chair of the House of Representatives committee on health, said both the House and the Senate are concluding effective legislations to guarantee adequate funds for vaccine procurement, immunisation services and PHC in general, beginning from 2018 financial year.
GAVI has supported immunisation in Nigeria for years, but Nigeria is close to losing support for immunisation after a rebasing of its economy pulled the country out of the league of low-income countries.
A rollback of funding has begun and Nigeria is expected to take total control for funding immunisation by 2021 at least.