Immunization Managers Cross the World to Hone Their Skills
Immunization programs all over the world face tight budgets and limited resources. This means that immunization managers, who are responsible for managing and integrating all elements of the program, don’t always get the necessary training and professional support. To help these health professionals gain the skills they need to succeed, the International Association of Immunization Managers (IAIM), headquartered at Sabin, provides immunization managers with opportunities to develop their managerial and leadership capacity. One such opportunity is the Training Scholarship Program, which offers immunization managers the chance to take a short course in a management-related topic to fill gaps in their previous training.
In 2015, IAIM provided seven training scholarships to immunization managers from six countries.
- Dr. Hamadou Ousseini Adamou, an Immunization Advisor for the Ministry of Health in Niger, attended a monitoring and evaluation course provided by Illinois State University to learn how to assess the quality of immunization programs and identify their strengths and weaknesses. Hamadou plans to use what he learned to assess the impact of new vaccines on overall health in Niger.
- Dr. Aisha Alshammary and Mr. Dawda Sowe, National Immunization Program Managers from Saudi Arabia and the Gambia respectively, attended the Advanced Course of Vaccinology (ADVAC), hosted by Fondation Mérieux & Université de Genève. Both Aisha and Dawda intend to pass the information they learned along to immunization staff in their countries. Dawda plans to use what he learned as a basis for decision making and program planning, and recommended that IAIM members participate in the Training Scholarship Program to “expand their views and understanding, which will help to shape their routine programs.” Read more about Aisha’s and Dawda’s experiences at ADVAC.
- Dr. George Bonsu, Ghana’s National Immunization Program Manager, attended the Advanced Course on Epidemiological Analysis at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, with the goal of acquiring skills in data management and analysis. George says the course made data analysis and interpretation simple and fun. Back in Ghana, George says the principles he learned “will improve the use of data for decision making that will drive the national agenda of reaching every child with quality vaccines.”
- In order to improve his skills in data collection and sampling, Dr. M’Barek Ould Houmeid, National Immunization Program Manager in Mauritania, attended a course on epidemiology, statistics and applied information from Université Libre de Bruxelles. He intends to put into practice the lessons he learned in sampling and research protocol design in his work in Mauritania.
- Mr. Mbye Njie, Capacity Building Manager for the National Immunization Program, traveled from the Gambia to strengthen his management skills through a course provided by the American Management Association. He learned how to manage and motivate employees, and plans to apply his new skills during trainings and transfer his newfound knowledge to regional level supervisors.
- Mr. Anawé Samuel Nion, a sub-national manager from Plateau Central, attended a regional training in monitoring and evaluation in his native Burkina Faso, provided by the Université de Ouagadougou. The importance of evaluation was brought home to him during the course. “Evaluation is at the beginning and at the end of any health program or project which wants to be effective and efficient,” says Anawé. Because of this training, Anawé will be able to organize evaluations at the regional level to generate reports that can serve as advocacy tools to improve certain aspects of the vaccination program, such as logistical capacities.
All of the scholarship recipients cited the value of the Training Scholarship Program and recommended that IAIM members apply. Anawé called the program “a real opportunity for immunization managers to meet their needs in terms of capacity building.” He urged his fellow members to take advantage of the program, saying, “It would be very incomprehensible in my opinion that immunization managers wouldn’t apply for these training scholarships.”
Read the participants’ complete testimonials and learn more about IAIM’s Training Scholarship Program. See where IAIM members have completed Training Scholarships and Peer-to-Peer Exchanges on our interactive global map.