Monitoring of progress in the establishment and strengthening of NITAGs
The majority of industrialized and some developing countries have established technical advisory bodies to guide and formulate national immunization policies and strategies. These are referred to as National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups (NITAGs), WHO and its partners have placed a high priority on assisting in the establishment or strengthening of functional, sustainable, and independent NITAGs. To enable systematic global monitoring of the existence and functionality of NITAGs, in 2010, WHO and UNICEF included related questions in the WHO–UNICEF Joint Reporting Form (JRF) that provides an official means for WHO and UNICEF to collect indicators of immunization programme performance. This paper presents the status of NITAGs based on the analysis of the 2010 JRF. Although 115 countries (64% of responders) reported having a NITAG in 2010, only 50% of countries reported the existence of a NITAG with a formal administrative or legislative basis. Despite limitations in the ability to compare 2010 JRF data with that from a 2008 global survey, it appears that substantial progress has been achieved globally over with 43 committees reporting affirmatively about six NITAG process indicators, compared with 23 in the 2008 survey. Impressive progress has been observed in the proportion of countries reporting NITAGs with formal terms of reference (24% increase), a legislative or administrative basis (10% increase), and a requirement for members to disclose their interests (14% increase). Some of the poorest developing countries now enjoy support from a NITAG which meet all six process indicators. These may serve as examples for other countries.