Thanks to the recognized success of PAHO’s ProVac Initiative in coun-tries of the Americas, a ProVac International Working Group (IWG) was established to share ProVac tools and methodologies with other Regions. During the two-year pilot phase, this Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded project will serve as the platform through which ProVac tools and methodologies developed and implemented in PAHO-countries can be tested and adapted to other regional contexts. The ProVac IWG is con-formed of multiple partners. PAHO’s ProVac Initiative will serve as the secretariat and coordinating agency. Agence de Médecine Préventive (AMP) and PATH will serve as implementing agencies by providing direct technical assistance to country teams using ProVac’s tools and methods. They will provide support for cost-effectiveness evaluations of potential new vaccine introductions in three AFRO countries, two EMRO coun-tries, and two EURO countries and will hold a workshop in each of the before mentioned Regions.
The World Health Organization Headquarters and regional and country offices will also provide direct technical assistance to selected countries, participate in and assist with the planning and implementation of country studies and regional workshops, and serve as liaison between the implementing partners and WHO Regional Offices and Ministries of Health. The Sabin Vaccine Institute is another ProVac IWG partner re-sponsible for the development and piloting of an effective strategy for communicating evidence to diverse stakeholders regarding the decision to introduce a new vaccine. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will provide consulting assistance to ProVac IWG partners on potential data sources and data quality issues.
On 22-23 May 2012, one of the ProVac IWG partners, AMP, began the initial country study under the ProVac IWG umbrella. An initial country visit to Albania by the ProVac IWG coordinator, the Technical Officer from WHO Re-gional Office for Europe, and two members from the AMP team, project coordinator and health economist and AMP consultant was held in Tirana, Albania. The two-day working visit consisted of a first full day of meetings with the na-tional country team and high level officials from the Albanian Institute of Public Health (IPH) and the Ministry of Health and on the second day an introductory workshop with the national team appointed to perform the study. This visit marked the beginning of Albania’s cost-effectiveness analysis on the potential introduction of the rotavirus vaccine to their national immunization schedule. The study is being conducted by a multidisciplinary national team, using the ProVac tools and methods, with direct technical support from AMP and the WHO Europe, and accompanying expert consultancy of PAHO’s ProVac Initiative. The study is scheduled to be conducted from May-September 2012, and it is led by a national coordinator from the Albanian IPH. The ProVac IWG has high hopes for this initial study, as it will serve as an example for the six studies to come.
IST West Africa is expecting that the setting up of this roster of consultants in West Africa will give a push to coun-tries in West Africa to meet the MDG4, of which vaccination is one of the strategies promoted.
Published in Global Immunization Newsletter, June 2012.