USAID - Click here to visit USAID's website IMMUNIZATIONbasics
JSI Research and Training Institute, Inc.
Strengthening routine immunization services and sustainable financing for immunization


What was IMMUNIZATIONbasics?

IMMUNIZATIONbasics was a five-year project (2004-2009) that aimed to improve the ability of governments and collaborating organizations to deliver and maintain the coverage of quality immunization services.

Established in 2004 by the USAID Global Bureau, Division of Health, Infectious Disease and Nutrition (USAID/HIDN), IMMUNIZATIONbasics continued USAID's longstanding support to immunization and built on the work of several earlier projects, including BASICS, Partners for Health Reform Plus, and CHANGE.

Photo of child being immunized

IMMUNIZATIONbasics provided expert technical support to Ministries of Health, USAID missions, bureaus and projects, international and national NGOs, and other international partners.

The project worked closely with host-country governments and other international organizations and linked its country programming to important global and regional initiatives, such as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), the WHO/UNICEF Global Immunization Vision and Strategy (GIVS), the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the Africa Measles Initiative, and others.

IMMUNIZATIONbasics was managed by the JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. (JSI), with partners Abt Associates, the Academy for Educational Development (AED) and the Manoff Group.

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Technical Team

IMMUNIZATIONbasics staff members were from JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc., Abt Associates, the Academy for Educational Development and the Manoff Group.

Patricia Taylor: Project Director

Patricia Taylor is an experienced health planner who, for most of the last 20 years, has alternately managed and played technical roles in large, USAID maternal and child health programs. In the 1990s, Ms. Taylor served as deputy director of two global USAID health projects in which immunization played a central role—BASICS and REACH. She was also associate director of USAID's MotherCare project, where she participated in the development of comprehensive strategies for reducing maternal and neonatal tetanus. Over her career, Ms. Taylor has had the opportunity to work with ministries of health and national EPIs in more than 30 different countries. Her field experience has given her an understanding of the many issues—technical, organizational and financial—that developing countries face in improving their immunization services, as well as an appreciation for the important role that USAID can play as an immunization partner.

Robert Steinglass: Technical Director

Robert Steinglass has over 30 years of immunization experience at country and global levels, first with WHO and for the past 20 years with USAID's REACH and BASICS projects. Mr. Steinglass has provided technical support to USAID at all levels, including technical leadership and country-specific programming. Fluent in USAID's goals, strategies, and methods, he has participated in the creation and support of USAID's vision for strengthening routine immunization programs at scale in order to reduce mortality from vaccine-preventable diseases. His breadth of knowledge and experience enable him to detect, understand and solve field problems and to translate that knowledge into practical, programmatic input. Mr. Steinglass' approach focuses on strengthening and sustaining the capacity of the health system to provide immunization routinely, effectively, safely, and efficiently over time, with increasing reliance on national and community inputs.

Technical Officers

Michael Favin, MA, MPH, has more than 30 years of experience focused on health and nutrition in developing countries. Since working at the community, city, state, and national levels in Brazil and Nicaragua, he has provided short-term assistance in 25 countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. He has served on the staffs of several global health projects and written or contributed to numerous books and articles, including several on immunization. He has expertise in qualitative research and communications and is skilled in developing comprehensive behavior-change strategies.

Rebecca Fields, MPH, has worked for over 20 years on immunization and infectious disease control. Her experience ranges from the development and field testing of vaccine vial monitors to the design and implementation of system strengthening approaches to measles control. Ms. Fields has participated in the assessment of national immunization programs, as well as efforts to increase health worker motivation for disease surveillance and use of data. She has also designed behavior change and advocacy strategies for injection safety and is the project's expert on advocacy for immunization financial sustainability. Ms. Fields has advanced degrees in microbiology and public health and has worked in over 15 countries with the CHANGE Project, BASICS, the Resources for Child Health Project, and HealthTech.

Natasha Hsi, MPH, was on the staff of the PHRplus Project before becoming the Immunization Financing Technical Officer for IMMUNIZATIONbasics. At PHRplus she worked with the GAVI Financing Task Force to develop guidelines and tools for countries to develop immunization financial sustainability plans (FSP). She also provided technical assistance to countries in developing and implementing their FSPs. She worked on the GAVI Immunization Services Support (ISS) Evaluation to assess the impact of GAVI's ISS grants on immunization performance. Through the GAVI Financing Task Force, Ms. Hsi has been involved in the design of the second phase of GAVI. Ms. Hsi also works on the financing of other health services, such as HIV/AIDS and malaria.

Michel Othepa, MD, MPH, has had a distinguished 25-year career in public health, particularly in immunization and disease control. From 2004 to 2006, he served as Chief of Party and Immunization Advisor for the IMMUNIZATIONbasics project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). From 1998 until he joined IMMUNIZATIONbasics, Dr. Othepa served in three different positions with the BASICS project in DRC: Consultant for EPI and Disease Prevention, Senior EPI Advisor, Deputy Country Representative and, finally, Country Team Leader. Prior to BASICS, he was EPI Project Officer for UNICEF/Kinshasa (1994-97) and National EPI Coordinator (1990-92) and Measles Control Project Coordinator (1989-90) for the DRC Ministry of Health. Dr. Othepa started his career in public health in the 1980's, working first as a practitioner physician and director of a rural hospital, and then serving as Chief Medical Officer of a Rural Health Zone (1983-89). He earned an MPH from the University of Alabama, School of Public Health in 1987 and completed CDC's Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) training in Atlanta in 1990.

Lora Shimp, MPH, has over 15 years of experience in international development and health, primarily with programs in Africa, through a variety of U.S. government and United Nations organizations. She has worked directly on USAID-funded child health projects, including REACH and BASICS, collaborating with other USAID contractors, WHO and UNICEF colleagues, ministry of health staff, and additional partners and organizations. For more than a decade, Ms. Shimp has specialized in immunization. Her experience includes working with national EPIs on routine system strengthening, improved service quality, and increased public demand for and utilization of immunization services. She has participated in multi-agency EPI reviews and assessments in a number of countries and advised on the integration of immunization and other child health interventions. Ms. Shimp is globally recognized as an expert in immunization communication and behavior change.

Jenny Sequeira, MPH, has a BS in Health Science and an MPH in international health and health education. Prior to joining IMMUNIZATIONbasics as activity manager for Nigeria, Ms. Sequeira served as Azerbaijan Health Programs Director for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in the capital city of Baku, and as Project Director in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (a land-locked enclave of Azerbaijan, bordering Armenia, Turkey and Iran). As Associate Technical Officer on the BASICS II project, she worked with programs in Uganda and Nigeria. She also served as a Peace Corps health educator in a small, rural village in The Gambia and completed consulting assignments in Indonesia, Guinea, Armenia and Sri Lanka.

Christie Billingsley, MA, MPH, served as program officer for IMMUNIZATIONbasics. She has over ten years of experience in international program management. She has worked on several USAID centrally funded projects such as The Synergy Project as an HIV/AIDS program analyst; The Monitoring, Evaluation, and Design Support (MEDS) Project as Deputy Director/Program Manager; The Global Business, Trade and Investment Project as a Senior Project Administrator.  Ms. Billingsley was a Peace Corps Volunteer in The Gambia, West Africa. Most of her field experience is in Africa but she has also worked in the Caribbean, Latin America, and the South Pacific. Ms. Billingsley has intimate knowledge of program management, especially with USAID-funded programs. Her technical areas of interest include maternal and child health, behavior change and infectious disease. She has professional training and experience in monitoring and evaluation methodology including participatory techniques and approaches.

Country Team Leaders

Abubakar Maishanu, MD, served as the Country Representative for the IMMUNIZATIONbasics/Nigeria program, funded by USAID. Dr. Maishanu has over 25 years of experience working as a health planner and administrator in the public health sector in Sokoto State, Northern Nigeria. In 2002 he joined WHO and worked with the national Nigerian immunization program. In addition to his medical training and experience as a health worker, Dr. Maishanu has extensive training and experience in epidemiology, community development, and reproductive health.

Jaurès Churchill Rabemanantena, MD, served as the Country Representative and Technical Advisor for IMMUNIZATIONbasics/Madagascar. With 15 years of experience, Dr. Rabemanantena is a specialist in public health for developing countries. Prior to IMMUNIZATIONbasics, he worked as a Family Planning Campaign Specialist in preparation for the nationwide Maternal and Child Health Weeks. He also worked with the Ministry of Health's Vaccination Services Team to create immunization and child health memory aids and operational guides as well as with the Interagency Coordinating Committee to prepare a vaccine management and data quality assessment. His other experience includes technical and advisory work with the BASICS project, JSI's Jereo Salama Isika project, and the SALFA A-3 project, for which he provided support for child health, HIV/AIDS, routine immunization services, immunization outreach, and polio eradication. Dr. Rabemanantena also has training and professional experience in program management and planning as well as monitoring & evaluation.

Karan Singh Sagar, MD, served as Country Representative for IMMUNIZATIONbasics in India. Dr. Sagar received a M.B.B.S. degree from Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi University in 1996 and a Doctor of Medicine in Preventive and Social Medicine from Lady Hardinge Medical College, Delhi University in 2000. Before being appointed as Country Representative, he served as the project’s National Immunization and Health Systems Advisor from 2006 to 2008. Prior to that, he worked with World Health Organization from 2000 to 2006 holding progressively more responsible positions--from a surveillance medical officer (NPSP/WHO) to National AEFI & Measles Coordinator at WHO India, National Routine Immunization Officer at NPSP/WHO and then as Short Term Consultant with WHO Myanmar. Dr. Sagar assisted the Government of India in drafting the national strategic plan for measles control, MYP, National AEFI guidelines and SOP. His experience includes working with National/Sub-National EPI for improving and strengthening routine immunization, AEFI, UIP reviews and assessment, MNTE validation, policy and documentation, trainings, and supportive supervision and monitoring.

Arturo Sanabria, MD, MPH, served as the Chief of Party of the East Timor Integrated Maternal and Child Health Program (TAIS), which was financed by USAID and implemented by the IMMUNIZATIONbasics and BASICS projects. Dr. Sanabria has had a distinguished career of more than 25 years in public health, epidemiology, child survival, gender, community development, HIV/AIDS, and reproductive health. He brought to TAIS strong project management skills, as well as broad experience working to improve the health status of indigenous peoples. Before joining IMMUNIZATIONbasics and BASICS in 2005, Dr. Sanabria served as Mozambique Country Director for the Making Medical Injections Safer Project, Deputy Chief of Party and Field Operations Director for the Mozambique Health Services Delivery and Support Project, Country Director for Project HOPE in Mozambique, and Executive Director of an innovative community health project in Chiapas, Mexico.

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Accessing Technical Assistance

Each year USAID provided limited core funding to IMMUNIZATIONbasics. Additional financial support was required for long-term work in individual countries or work outside of the priority technical areas that USAID established for the project. Complementary support came from USAID missions, regional bureaus and other international partners. USAID missions and regional bureaus were able to obtain technical services through their annual field support contributions or by issuing task orders under the IMMUNIZATIONbasics cooperative agreement. Project services were also available to those outside of USAID on a fee-for-service basis.

To learn more about IMMUNIZATIONbasics, contact us.

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