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LNCT Member Newsletter July 2020

LNCT Updates

Materials from Two Recent LNCT Webinars Now Available Online

On June 23, LNCT held a webinar, Assessing Bottlenecks to Adequate and Predictable Vaccine Financing. The World Bank presented their tool which aims to help country counterparts pinpoint the root causes of bottlenecks that affect adequate and reliable vaccine financing. The materials from the webinar, including the recording, are available on the LNCT website here.

In our webinar, Incremental Costs for RI, Campaigns, and Outreach Services During COVID-19, on July 16, panelists from ThinkWell and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health on their recent findings on additional costs associated with modifications to routine immunization, mass campaigns, and outreach services during COVID-19 to minimize COVID-19 transmission and ensure the safety of health workers and the community. The webinar materials are available here.

**NEW FEATURE** LNCT Steering Committee Spotlight: Irina Javkahdze (Georgia)
Irina Javakhadze, Chief Specialist, Consolidated Budget Formulation Division, Ministry of Finance, Georgia, has been engaged with LNCT since its launch in 2017. She joined the LNCT Steering Committee in 2019 out of a desire to participate in the decision making of a country-led platform. As Chair of the Steering Committee, her first priority is building transparency around the decisions made by the network to network members, ensuring country priorities are shared and discussed with global partners, and exchanging knowledge between members of the LNCT network. We interviewed Irina and asked her about her involvement with LNCT and how members can make the most of the opportunities LNCT provides. Here’s what she said.

New Tutorial Videos Demonstrate how to Use LNCT’s Making the Case for Investment in Immunization Materials
LNCT is creating a tutorial video series that will demonstrate how to use the Making the Case for Investment in Immunization materials, which were updated earlier this year. LNCT created these materials to enable immunization practitioners to make their best case for investing in immunization by drawing on the most up-to-date evidence available. The first two videos have been released on the LNCT website. In the first video in the series, we present an approach to resource mobilization that can be used to gain the support of key stakeholders with the ultimate goal of ensuring long-term and sustainable funding for immunization. In the second video of the series, we walk you through how to use the investment case materials to develop a presentation justifying investment to introduce a new vaccine. To view the investment case materials and the first two tutorial videos, please visit the investment case resource page. Also be sure to check back for additional tutorial videos!

LET’S DISCUSS: Strategies for timely disbursement of funds for national immunization program?
What are the most important strategies your country has implemented that have helped ensure the timely disbursement of funds for the national immunization program? In our webinar on June 23, we heard about what Nigeria has done to ensure reliable funding for vaccines. We would love to hear from more of our members on this discussion topic to share their experiences or pose questions to other countries, our technical experts, and our partners.
*Note: You will need to log-in to respond in the discussion forum. If you have any issues with your account or responding to a discussion question, please reach out to LNCT Network Coordinators at info@lnct.global.

Country Spotlights

Keeping Routine Immunization Going During COVID-19 in Indonesia
The Jakarta local government implemented large-scale social restrictions, such as closing public spaces, restricting public transport and limiting travel to and from the rest of the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this Gavi Q&A with Dr. Vertando Halim, Coordinator of Expanded Program on Immunization, Jakarta, Indonesia, we hear about the challenges the Jakarta government faced to bring COVID under control, how the pandemic impacted routine immunization services, and how the local government responded.

How Digital Tools are Helping Pakistan Monitor Routine Immunization During the Pandemic 
In Pakistan, urban communities were the first to feel the impact of COVID-19. But the virus has spread to all corners of the country to such an extent that officials have been debating if a second lockdown is needed to stop further transmission. A Gavi-supported digital immunization registry has helped keep track of vaccination activities to make sure children remain protected from other infectious diseases. Read more about the key role the immunization registry is playing in Pakistan here.

Highlights from our Partners

WHO Academy’s COVID-19 Mobile Learning App
WHO has published a mobile app that provides mobile access to the WHO COVID-19 knowledge resources, including up-to-the-minute guidance, tools, training, and virtual workshops to support health workers in caring for patients infected by COVID-19 and protect themselves as they do their critical work. The mobile app is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store

WHO Real-time Training for the Coronavirus Disease Outbreak
Access to the most up-to-date training during global emergencies is critical for effective preparedness and response. WHO’s COVID-19 channel provides learning resources for health professionals, decision-makers and the public for the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). As the outbreak continues to evolve, new resources will be added, and existing courses will be updated to best reflect the changing context.

COVAX Facility Provides Global Equitable Access to COVID-19 Vaccines
The COVAX Facility — a collaboration created to guarantee quick and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines throughout the world — has garnered the interest of 75 countries and plans to support as many as 90 lower-income countries through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance’s Advance Market Commitment (AMC).  The COVAX Facility together with the AMC is designed to guarantee rapid, fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for every country in the world, rich and poor, to make rapid progress towards slowing the pandemic.  Find out more about the COVAX Facility here.

New Digital Newsletter Delivers Latest on Gavi Policies and Guidance
Need to Know is a new, digital newsletter for countries and partners delivering the latest on Gavi policies, guidance, and other programmatic updates. The most recent edition of Need to Know contains news on the flexibilities put in place for funding and applications in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, how to request Gavi’s support for the second dose of IPV, and the renewal of support for yellow fever diagnosis. The latest edition is available in English and French. Sign up to receive these updates by emailing needtoknow@gavi.org.

Impact of and Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Gavi-supported Countries
Gavi is tracking and monitoring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Gavi-supported countries. In addition to this COVID-19 dashboard, they also publish fortnightly Situation Reports with updates on the pandemic’s impact on routine immunization and Gavi’s support to countries to respond to COVID-19. Stay up-to-date here.

Featured Resources

Immunization Campaigns During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A rapid Analysis of the Additional Operational Cost
Recent analysis from ThinkWell estimates the potential additional operational cost of an immunization campaign held during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results of this analysis show that the cost of a campaign could increase by 5% when placing hand washing stations at campaign sites, by 9-20% when adding PPE, by 10-26% when adding crowd controllers to manage physical distancing and triaging at campaign sites, by 8-32% due to additional per diems associated with a campaign extension, and by 10-40% when certain operational aspects of the campaign, such as social mobilization and transport were to increase. All protective measures and operational changes combined could increase the operational cost of a campaign by 49% in the low intensity scenario and up to 154% in the high intensity scenario. Analyses on additional costs of fixed-site routine immunization and outreach services will be forthcoming. Check back on the LNCT website soon!

Materials from iHEA Webinar: Developing Strategies for Effective and Efficient Immunization Against COVID-19
Many challenges plague immunization strategies for COVID-19 vaccination, once vaccine is available. This includes the inability of current manufacturing capacities to meet the global demand, distributional challenges in the supply chain, tiered pricing of vaccines across countries, and unequal benefits from vaccination in the population. How can health economists help policymakers rise to the challenge? This webinar focused on three main aspects: 1. Considerations in determining if all or select populations are to be immunized; 2. Financing of the vaccines by countries and donors; and 3. Building and maintaining vaccine distribution channels. The webinar recording is available here.

Comparative Distributional Impact of Routine Immunization and Supplementary Immunization Activities in Delivery of Measles Vaccine in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
This new analysis conducted by Allison Portnoy, Mark Jit, Stéphane Helleringer, and Stéphane Verguet examined how different measles vaccine delivery platforms can affect equity. The authors found that while inequalities in under-5 mortality in low- and middle-income countries are decreasing, large disparities still persist and highlight the need to prioritize inequality reduction and equity in decision-making at the global and national levels.

Budget Line Items for Immunization in 33 African Countries 
This study was conducted by UNICEF as a cross-country comparison of how immunization is reflected in MOH budgets in Sub-Saharan African countries. Here are some of the key findings: not all countries have a line item for vaccines or immunization in their budget, transition from input-based to program-based budgeting can lead to removal of immunization line items, and budget structure and number of line items for immunization vary substantially between countries.

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