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JSI Research and Training Institute, Inc.
Strengthening routine immunization services and sustainable financing for immunization

Results of Needs Assessment with USAID Staff and Partners

The Process

In the spring of 2005, IMMUNIZATIONbasics sent an electronic survey to 34 USAID missions, 34 USAID-funded health projects, and 69 NGOs working on child health in developing countries. The purpose was to obtain guidance from major project audiences on how IMMUNIZATIONbasics might best support their work. The return rate was 76% (26) for missions and 68% (23) for bilateral projects, but only 6% (4) for NGOs.

The Findings: USAID Missions

Twenty of the 26 missions indicated that their health strategy includes activities or investments in immunization.

Most interesting topics: New global policies and trends, strengthening routine immunization, integrating routine immunization with other child health activities, and USAID support to immunization.

Most desirable information channels: Regular dissemination of brief news items, technical publications, electronic newsletters. A project website and electronic response service were of intermediate interest.

Technical assistance needs: Fourteen (54%) of responding missions expressed technical assistance needs that included support for on-going project implementation, evaluation of current mission activities, integration of routine immunization with other child health activities, review of mission plans/strategies and design of new activities. Twelve (46%) of the responding missions asked to be contacted by USAID/HIDN or IMMUNIZATIONbasics concerning their technical assistance needs.

The Findings: USAID health sector projects

Twelve of the 23 bilateral USAID health projects we contacted indicated that they have an immunization-specific result or indicator.

Most interesting topics: New global policies and trends, strengthening routine immunization, integrating routine immunization with other child health activities, and reducing immunization dropouts.

Most desirable information channels: Technical publications and an electronic newsletter were the most desirable communications channels. Of intermediate interest were an electronic response service and a project website, with other channels scoring much lower.

Technical assistance needs: Eight respondents (35%) expressed the need for assistance, again in a wide range of technical areas.

The Findings: NGO headquarters

Only four NGOs responded, so their responses do not necessarily reflect those of the larger group.

Most interesting topics: Strengthening routine immunization, integrating routine immunization with other child health activities, and reducing immunization dropouts.

Most desirable information channels: The electronic newsletter and project website were the most popular options, followed by the electronic dissemination of news briefs and other information.

Technical assistance needs: The NGOs that responded to the questionnaire did not express a need for external technical assistance.

Because of the low NGO response rate, IMMUNIZATIONbasics will continue to work with the CORE Group to better understand the information needs and preferences of its members.

There was general, although certainly not complete, concurrence among the three types of respondents. Overall they expressed the desire for information about new global immunization policies and trends, strengthening routine immunization, the integration of immunization with other child survival activities, and reducing immunization dropouts. Electronic newsletters and technical publications were the preferred communications channels, followed by dissemination of brief news items and a project website.

How IMMUNIZATIONbasics is using the assessment findings

While fully realizing that the respondents to this needs assessment were self-selected, the exercise provided very important information to guide experience exchange activities.

  • Audience preferences influenced the design and content of our website and an e-newsletter (SnapShots). We hope that both will help busy USAID mission, project, NGO and partner staff meet their information needs. The website and SnapShots will provide news items, as well as links to in-depth references and information sources on topics to which respondents gave high priority.
  • An on-line resource center has been added to our website. It allows users to quickly find information about topics related to global immunization policy, routine immunization programs, immunization financing, and other priority topics. The on-line center permits users to download publications authored by IMMUNIZATIONbasics staff AND to quickly link to other references, tools, publications, websites, newsletters and listservs that we have found to be useful in our own work.

The topics of e-newsletters, website features, and other project publications reflect the priority topics identified by those who completed our questionnaire. Topics which are covered in issues of SnapShots and other publications include:

  • Routine immunization coverage rates and trends
  • Global immunization policies: GAVI Phase II, WHO/UNICEF Global Immunization Vision and Strategy, and others
  • GAVI “bridge financing” for combination vaccines (special issue for affected countries)
  • Comprehensive Multi-Year Planning
  • Integrating immunization and other health interventions
  • Reducing immunization dropouts and left outs

We completed a French translation of an important USAID publication, Immunization Essentials, which is available through USAID and on our website.

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