IMMUNIZATIONbasics was dedicated to the essential task of ensuring
that every child in the developing world is fully immunized in
the first year of life. Working with global, regional, national,
and sub-national partners, the project provided practical, field-oriented
technical analysis, made information about best practices in
the field of immunization available and aimed to strengthen health
systems by building local capacity to offer effective, timely,
and sustainable vaccination services.
To achieve the goals of increased immunization coverage and reduced
mortality from vaccine-preventable diseases, IMMUNIZATIONbasics
focused foremost on two objectives:
Strong routine immunization services
IMMUNIZATIONbasics provided general support
to enhance the policies, strategies, systems and skills required
to increase and sustain the coverage of routine immunization
services. Top priority was given to influencing policies and strategies
with implications for routine immunization; to developing the
capacity of ministries of health, USAID missions, USAID-supported
projects, NGOs and others to introduce and scale up the Reaching
Every District (RED) strategy and other effective approaches
to strengthening routine immunization; and to ensuring that critical
communications functions are part of all immunization programs.
Sustainable immunization financing
Immunization programs face serious financing
challenges, as countries simultaneously work to expand coverage,
introduce new and under-used vaccines, and meet accelerated disease-control
objectives. The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization
(GAVI) has provided countries with time-limited funding for new
vaccines, safe injection equipment and systems strengthening.
If governments are to continue providing new vaccines and safe
injections when GAVI support ends, they must begin to mobilize
new sources of domestic and external funding.
To achieve these objectives, IMMUNIZATIONbasics:
- Gave top priority to routine immunization
Strong regular services must be in place if countries are
going to reach and sustain immunization coverage and
disease control objectives over time. Therefore, IMMUNIZATIONbasics
focused, first and foremost, on assisting countries
to strengthen and improve the sustainability of their
routine immunization services. The project also promoted
greater attention to routine immunization among the other
global immunization partners.
- Shared best practices and concentrated on
the introduction and scaling up of proven approaches
For over 30 years, developing countries have been working
to make immunization more widely available, and there is
substantial experience and knowledge about what works. IMMUNIZATIONbasics
strove to ensure that this knowledge is systematically applied.
The project worked with partners to understand their problems
and objectives and promoted approaches that are practical,
linked to country assessments, and developed and applied
hand-in-hand with host-country counterparts. IMMUNIZATIONbasics
helped countries adapt and scale up approaches, such as the
Reaching Every District approach (RED), which have been successful
in multiple settings. The project’s work also included
the documentation and dissemination of successful projects
and initiatives, through a mix of electronic, face-to-face,
and print media.
- Strengthened immunization in the context
of the overall health system
Sustainable routine immunization services are dependent,
over the long term, on sustainable health services and systems.
IMMUNIZATIONbasics addressed immunization needs in the context
of the overall public health systems in which immunization
programs operate, never losing sight of the fact that the
priorities, policies, financing and management of a health
system are as important to routine immunization as any immunization-specific
inputs that our project or partners might have provided.
- Supported those who are already working to
Ministries of health, NGOs, USAID missions and projects,
WHO and UNICEF country offices, GAVI sub-regional working
groups, and others are actively engaged in efforts to increase
immunization coverage in most countries. Likewise, ministries
of health and of finance are already costing and beginning
to seek new sources of funding for immunization programs.
IMMUNIZATIONbasics worked hand-in-hand with groups that are
already engaged in countries, offering evidence to inform
their decisions and transferring skills, tools and proven
approaches for their adaptation and use.
- Built effective partnerships
The project was committed to working in partnership at global,
regional and national levels. IMMUNIZATIONbasics' expertise
in routine immunization provided a unique perspective
and a complementary niche vis-a-vis other global and
regional immunization partners who focus on accelerated
disease control (measles mortality reduction, polio eradication,
NNT reduction) and the introduction of new vaccines and
safe injection technologies.
- Advocated not only for routine immunization,
but also for the larger child health agenda
At the present time, immunization is well funded by the international
partners, particularly when compared to other child health
interventions. Experience shows, however, that today's support
does not guarantee adequate funding over time. IMMUNIZATIONbasics
was committed to working with its colleagues in the larger
child health community to achieve increased funding for child
health, while also advocating that immunization receive
the funding it merits as one of the most cost effective of
all child health interventions.
- Promoted a global and regional environment
that support country efforts to strengthen routine immunization
Governments are heavily influenced by the global and regional
initiatives launched by GAVI, WHO, UNICEF, the World Bank,
and other multilateral and bilateral organizations. IMMUNIZATIONbasics
engaged with these organizations at global and regional level,
both by advising USAID/HIDN on its interactions with and
contributions to them, and by participating directly with
them in working groups and commissions that advise on important
global and regional policies.
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