Sabin Vaccine Institute convenes immunization managers to share best practices in improving vaccination programs

ISTANBUL, TURKEY—March 3, 2015—The International Association of Immunization Managers (IAIM) today assembled nearly 150 of its members from more than 70 countries to discuss how their diverse experiences can inform efforts to improve the performance of national immunization programs.

Immunization is the one of the “best buys” in public health, saving millions of lives each year. Yet, too often, immunization managers — the public health professionals responsible for managing each country’s immunization efforts and ensuring vaccines reach their population — are facing new challenges with limited resources. Therefore, enhancing and developing their management and leadership skills are needed to ensure that their programs achieve outstanding performance. Better performing immunization programs not only transform the health of communities, they can help to strengthen health systems and assist authorities in responding to public health emergencies. In light of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the re-emergence of polio in the Eastern Mediterranean region, the importance of robust health systems cannot be understated. The IAIM Inaugural Conference is a prime opportunity to foster dialogue between health professionals and exchange best practices in immunization program management.

“Over the past few decades, the world has seen significant achievements in the control and elimination of vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Dr. Jon Andrus, Executive Vice President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute. “However, one in five children still do not receive the most basic vaccines. The Global Vaccine Action Plan, approved by the World Health Assembly, presents an opportunity for countries and stakeholdersto build on recent progress to ensure that all children have accessto basic and new vaccines.”

During the two-day conference, members participated in informational sessions led by immunization experts, panel discussions and breakout meetings. All aspects of the conference are designed to foster dialogue between health professionals and exchange best practices in immunization program management. In addition, IAIM members elected the Association’s first Governing Council, which will provide direction and leadership through 2017. The newly elected Governing Council members, representing all regions of the world, come from Armenia, Bahrain, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Malaysia, Nepal, Oman, South Africa, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom and the United States. Prof. David Salisbury, former Director of Immunisation in the United Kingdom’s Department of Health, was elected as the Council’s president. Prof. Salisbury previously served as president of IAIM’s ad hoc Governing Council.

“I am proud to be part of an association working to provide immunization managers with the resources they need to advance their immunization program skills,” said Prof. Salısbury. “IAIM provides a crucial platform to exchange information with the overall goal of improving the managerial skills and competencies of immunization managers.”

Immunization managers play a critical role in managing and integrating each element of a successful immunization program: cost-effective and dependable procurement processes; reliable funding; an effective cold chain; consistent monitoring of vaccine safety and efficacy; effective surveillance systems; productive and proactive communication with the public; and, well-trained health workers.

“Effective program management is one of the most influential determinants of whether global and regional immunization goals will be met,” said Peter Carrasco, Director of the IAIM Secretariat at the Sabin Vaccine Institute. “However, immunization managers are too often under-trained, unable to access the information they need and lack a support network for seeking new approaches to manage their programs’ challenges. This conference helps to address these needs — enabling them to meet with their counterparts in other countries, exchange experiences and best practices and engage in peer-to-peer learning.”

With more than 225 members representing vaccine programs in over 100 countries, IAIM works to support immunization managers and other professionals to achieve national, regional and international immunization goals by fostering forward-thinking and superior management of immunization programs. Its objectives are to establish a forum for immunization managers to discuss and exchange best practices; build and support international and regional networks of immunization managers; and gain access to opportunities to develop their technical and leadership capacity. IAIM is supported by a five-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

For more information on IAIM and how to become a member, click here.

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About the International Association of Immunization Managers

The International Association for Immunization Managers (IAIM) is the first-ever international professional association for immunization managers. Having established a forum for immunization managers to discuss and exchange best practices, IAIM’s objectives are to build and support international and regional networks of immunization managers, and provide immunization managers with opportunities to develop their technical and leadership capacity. IAIM convenes international and regional meetings for its members to provide a forum for discussion. IAIM also provides access to training and cutting-edge information and networking opportunities, peer-to-peer exchanges and online tools for sharing best practices, research and training.

 

About Sabin Vaccine Institute
Sabin Vaccine Institute is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization of scientists, researchers, and advocates dedicated to reducing needless human suffering caused by vaccine preventable and neglected tropical diseases. Sabin works with governments, leading public and private organizations, and academic institutions to provide solutions for some of the world's most pervasive health challenges. Since its founding in 1993 in honor of the oral polio vaccine developer, Dr. Albert B. Sabin, the Institute has been at the forefront of efforts to control, treat and eliminate these diseases by developing new vaccines, advocating use of existing vaccines and promoting increased access to affordable medical treatments. For more information please visit www.sabin.org.  

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