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LNCT Member Newsletter November/December 2020

LNCT UPDATES

LNCT to Hold Session During Phase Two of the Sixth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (HSR2020)
LNCT’s organized Health Systems Research (HSR) session, “Should public health programs be integrated into national health insurance? The case of immunization”, will be taking place on December 9. The session will examine how the immunization programs in Georgia, Ghana, and Indonesia have adapted to the introduction of national health insurance—what challenges have arisen, and how they have been addressed. Materials from the session will be made available on the LNCT website. 

**NEW FEATURE** LNCT Steering Committee Spotlight: Ganiyu Salau (Nigeria)
Ganiyu Salau was introduced to LNCT at the first network-wide meeting in 2017. As a member of Nigeria’s Country Core Group (CCG), Ganiyu has since participated in several in-person events and provided input to the network’s activities through CCG calls and meetings. As he participated in LNCT activities, Ganiyu grew to appreciate the value of gathering countries in different stages of transition together to discuss immunization related issues. He joined the Steering Committee in 2019 to share Nigeria’s experience and to be a part of developing a strategy that centers on member country needs. We interviewed Ganiyu and asked him about his involvement with LNCT and how members can make the most of the opportunities LNCT provides. Here’s what he said.

Securing Access to COVID-19 Vaccines 

  • COVAX Application Materials for AMC Eligible Economies Now Available
    The COVAX Facility released the application and guidance documents (“application package”) for eligible economies to (i) confirm participation in the COVAX Facility and (ii) request support for COVID-19 vaccines, as well as Cold Chain Equipment and Technical Assistance needed to prepare for the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines. 
    All 92 AMC Eligible Economies are welcome to apply for participation in COVAX.  An overview of the process is outlined in the COVAX AMC Application Guidance, including confirming participation in the COVAX Facility by December 7, 2020, to vaccines arrival in-country. For questions please contact covax@gavi.org.
  • LNCT Blog: What Steps Can LNCT Countries Take to Secure Early Access to COVID-19 Vaccines?
    Our recent blog highlights actions and important information for LNCT countries to prepare early for the COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • WHO Released Key Documents on Allocation and Prioritization of COVID-19 Vaccines
    WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization has provided guidance for the allocation and prioritization of COVID-19 vaccines in these key documents.

First Module of LNCT’s New Free Online Course on Vaccine Hesitancy and Demand Generation Available to the Public
The first module of LNCT’s new online course on vaccine hesitancy and demand generation, “Understanding and Generating Demand for Immunization” was made available to the public in English, French, Portuguese and Russian. Developed in partnership with Common Thread, this module introduces key behavior change concepts and models and walks through how to apply these concepts to individual country contexts. The course is free and takes approximately 2-3 hours to complete. It can be accessed by clicking here and creating an account.

Materials from LNCT’s First Virtual Workshop on Engaging the Private Sector to Support Immunization Now Available Online
Between October and November, LNCT held its first virtual workshop around Engaging the Private Sector to Support Immunization. Six of LNCT’s countries – Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Georgia, Kenya, Sao Tome e Principe, and Sudan – participated in the four-day workshop, where they learned best practices and common challenges of engaging the private sector for demand generation, advocacy, and service provision. Participants also learned about innovative public-private partnership solutions that have been implemented in multiple settings. Each day of the workshop, the country teams collaborated to identify challenges that could be addressed by the private sector, private sector actors that could play a role, approaches and solutions that the private sector could implement, and strategies and actions to achieve these partnerships. Materials from the workshop, including presentations and recordings, can be found in LNCT’s resource library here*. (*You must be logged in to your LNCT account to access these materials).

Materials from Two Recent LNCT Webinars Now Available Online

  • Nigeria’s experience with the private sector demonstrates the range of private sector actors that can be engaged and the many different ways in which the private sector can support the national immunization program to improve outcomes. On Thursday, October 22nd, LNCT held a webinar on Engaging the Private Sector to Support Immunization Delivery: Lessons from Nigeria.
  • Panelists from Sri Lanka reflected on the country’s experience transitioning from Gavi support and shared a current perspective on challenges related to sustainability and maintaining the gains made in disease control over the past 30 years in this LNCT webinar held on November 19th.

Complete Tutorial Video Series on How to Use and Adapt LNCT’s ‘Making the Case for Investment in Immunization’
LNCT’s set of ‘Making the Case for Investment in Immunization’ materials, updated in early 2020, enable immunization practitioners to make their best case for additional funding for the national immunization program by drawing on the most up-to-date global evidence available. To provide guidance on how these materials could be used and adapted, LNCT produced and launched a five-video tutorial series that walks through different scenarios of using the materials to identify key stakeholders, develop appropriate arguments, and present a case to increase funding for the national immunization program. All of the materials, including the tutorial video series, are available in English, French, Portuguese, and Russian here

HIGHLIGHTS FROM OUR PARTNERS

How to Identify and Respond to the Disruption in Routine Immunization Services During the Global Pandemic: Lessons from Sierra Leone
Disruptions related to lockdown measures, transport restrictions, and reduced demand due to fear or mistrust have affected vaccines coverage with most countries reporting a 6 to 12 percent decrease in the past few months. This has increased the burden on programs across healthcare systems who are faced with complex challenges: how to balance the response to COVID-19 while ensuring the continued delivery of immunization services? how to allocate scarce resources even as the need for those resources rises? and amidst these resource constraints, what trade-offs to make? Over the past few months, the EPI program worked with the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) to develop an Excel-based tracker designed to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 across the country, and inform decisions regarding catch-up plans, and allocation of resources. From there, CHAI and the EPI program established virtual data review meetings with four focus districts where they regularly videoconference to review district performance and trends, identify causes and implications, and delegate follow-up actions. Read more about their lessons learned in a new blog on the LNCT website.

Announcing the COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Project
The Sabin Vaccine Institute (Sabin) is proud to be partnering with Dalberg and John Snow, Inc. Research & Training Institute to launch the COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Project – an initiative that will support low- and middle-income country immunization professionals in leading the equitable delivery of COVID-19 vaccines through their national immunization programs.

The Boost Community will serve as the foundation of this program to ensure the perspectives and priorities of immunization professionals at both the national and sub-national levels are fully integrated into the design and delivery of activities. To learn more about the COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Project, please visit the project website and read the press release. If you are a national or sub-national immunization professional interested in learning more about this work or engaging on a deeper level, please email info@vaccineequity.org.

FEATURED RESOURCES

Gavi’s Support to Maintain, Restore and Strengthen Immunization for COVID-19
Despite the variable trajectory of COVID-19 in different countries, it has adversely impacted
immunization programs nearly everywhere. Gavi support can be tailored to maintain and restore
immunization and implement measures to strengthen programs. This document provides guidance on how Gavi support can be used for this purpose during the acute phase of the pandemic over the next 12-18 months.

Key Documents from WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization Offer Guidance for the Allocation and Prioritization of COVID-19 Vaccines

  • The Values Framework for the Allocation and Prioritization of COVID-19 Vaccination offers guidance globally on the allocation of COVID-19 vaccines between countries, and to offer guidance nationally on the prioritization of groups for vaccination within countries while supply is limited.
  • To assist in developing recommendations for use of vaccines against COVID-19, SAGE proposes a Roadmap for Prioritizing Uses of COVID-19 Vaccines in the Context of Limited Supply that considers priority populations for vaccination based on epidemiologic setting and vaccine supply scenarios. 
  • Critical Evidence Questions For COVID-19 Vaccines Policy Making lists areas of evidence that would assist SAGE to formulate policy recommendations for consideration by WHO regarding the use of COVID-19 vaccines as they become available.

These key documents can all be found on WHO’s website here

Vaccine Cost Calculators from PATH Provide an Easy Way to Assess and Compare Costs 
PATH’s Vaccine Cost Calculators provide an easy way to assess and compare costs of certain vaccination programs over a period of 10 years with each vaccine product available in the global market. These Excel-based tools are available in multiple languages for rotavirus vaccinespneumococcal conjugate vaccines, and human papillomavirus vaccines (coming soon!). The tools allow country-level policymakers to input a limited set of local data and then compare products and estimate vaccination program costs for different vaccine products and presentations, exploring multiple vaccine options at a time.

Using Geospatial Technologies to Improve Immunization Coverage and Equity
In collaboration with UNICEF and Health Enabled, Gavi has just published a report called, “Improving Immunization Coverage and Equity through the Effective Use of Geospatial Technologies: A Landscape Analysis and Theory of Change.” The report explores current approaches to leaving no child behind with immunization by harnessing geospatial technologies and GIS to improve immunization coverage and equity in low- and middle-income countries. The full report is available in English and in French.

Leveraging public financial management for better health – Video Podcasts
In 2019, WHO organized a webinar series of public financial management (PFM) in health issues. The series included six sessions on key PFM topics – from budget formulation, to budget execution and monitoring  – and involved a range of well-established experts from WHO, World Bank, OECD, International Budget Partnership and Results for Development, as well as country experts from health and finance authorities. In 2020, WHO made the recorded sessions of the webinar series available for the public. With the permission of the different contributors, the files have been transformed into 30 minute-video podcasts, which are available on WHO’s website here

LOOKING AHEAD

Upcoming LNCT Webinar to Highlight Experiences Training Health Workers Virtually During COVID-19
LNCT is planning a webinar featuring country experiences training health workers virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please keep a look out for an invite to register for this webinar in the near future!

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