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.
While real progress has been made on a number of serious health issues, half of the world’s citizens lack access to essential health services.
Today, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and WHO signed a five year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to help support countries to achieve the health-related targets across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the agenda’s commitment to leave no-one behind.
"Universal health coverage is a powerful tool not only for better health, but for reducing poverty, creating jobs, fueling inclusive economic growth and promoting gender equality," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. "But achieving a healthier world is not a job for the health sector alone. By working with partners like UNDP, we can better address the social, economic and environmental determinants of health and make progress towards a fairer, safer and more prosperous future for everyone."
In line with WHO’s leadership on universal health coverage, UNDP and WHO will support countries to strengthen the capacity of their health systems, including by addressing the social, economic and environmental determinants of health. The partnership will also address emerging issues such as antimicrobial resistance (AMR), one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today. It is estimated that the annual death toll due to AMR could climb to 10 million deaths and result in US$ 100 trillion in losses by 2050 if nothing is done. Other priority areas include acting decisively on health emergencies, ensuring delivery of essential health services in fragile, vulnerable and conflict-affected settings and addressing health challenges arising from climate change and environmental problems.
"Health plays a central role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and is both a precondition and an outcome of sustainable development," said Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator. "In recognition of this critical role, the health and development agencies of the United Nations are taking this deliberate step to join forces and combine our expertise to address the social, environmental, and economic factors affecting the health of all."
The 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) reinforce the strong linkages between health and development. The partnership between WHO and UNDP illustrates how the core competencies of the UN health and development agencies can come together to support multi-sectoral responses for health and deliver shared gains across the 2030 Agenda.
The largest cholera vaccination drive in history targeting two million people across Africa is underway, the United Nations announced on Monday, in response to a series of recent deadly outbreaks of the water-borne disease.
“Oral cholera vaccines are a key weapon in our fight against cholera,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization (WHO) in a statement, “but there are many other things we need to do to keep people safe. WHO and our partners are saving lives every day by improving access to clean water and sanitation, establishing treatment centres, delivering supplies, distributing public health guidance, training health workers, and working with communities on prevention,” he added.
The drive targets Zambia, Uganda, Malawi, South Sudan and Nigeria, and will be completed by mid-June. The vaccines are funded by the Vaccine Alliance, a public-private partnership known as Gavi, and were sourced from the global stockpile.
The burden of cholera remains high in many African countries. As of 7 May, there are at least 12 areas or countries, reporting active cholera transmission in sub-Saharan Africa.
Since the beginning of this year, WHO has led the way providing technical expertise and guidance, working closely with Health Ministries and other partners in the five target countries to plan and implement the vaccination campaigns. The ambitious effort is part of a global push to reduce cholera deaths by 90 percent by 2030.
In the 15 years between 1997 and 2012, a modest 1.5 million doses of cholera vaccines were used worldwide. In just the first four months of this year, more than 15 million doses have been approved for use globally.
Oral cholera vaccine is normally administered in two doses. The first gives protection for six months, the second for between three and five years.
“Every rainy season, cholera springs up and brings devastation to communities across Africa,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Regional Director for Africa. “With this historic cholera vaccination drive, countries in the region are demonstrating their commitment to stopping cholera from claiming more lives. We need to build on this momentum through a multisectoral approach and ensure that everyone has access to clean water and sanitation, no matter where they are located.”
A resolution on further action to combat cholera will be proposed by Zambia and Haiti at this month’s World Health Assembly in Geneva, calling for renewed political will and an integrated global approach to eliminate cholera, including more investment in clean water, sanitation and hygiene.