The success of immunization programs relies heavily on immunization program managers, who facilitate every aspect of immunization programs, from cost-effective procurement of vaccines to the vigilant monitoring of vaccine safety and efficacy. Sabin’s IAIM Network is the largest international network of immunization managers, offering opportunities to connect, share knowledge and strengthen skills required to effectively implement immunization programs. This peer network creates opportunities for immunization professionals to share best practices and address the most pressing topics challenging immunization programs.

In this spotlight series, we will feature IAIM Network members to highlight their accomplishments as immunization managers and learn from their programs. This interview is with Dr. Farhan Ali, who works in EPI at the Ministry of Health of Djibouti (photo to the right). The interview was edited for clarity and length. 

How long have you been an immunization manager?

I have been an immunization manager for two years. 

Why did you want to become an immunization manager?

I wanted to become an immunization manager to improve the preventive health system and to make equity the first goal within this health system.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

The most rewarding aspect of my job is preventing diseases that spread to our children and their mothers.

What do you wish people knew about immunization managers?

People need to know that immunization managers have a great responsibility and a great public health duty to their people. And the population must take ownership of program activities to improve their children’s health.

What is your biggest professional achievement to date?

My biggest professional achievement to date is offering immunization services to special populations, such as nomads or immigrants. I think there is not a price on earth that would be equivalent to seeing the smile of these vaccinated children. That is enough. At first, we partnered with Gavi to achieve this goal, and now we have WHO and UNICEF as technical and financial partners. Ultimately, we were able to improve the quality of life and decrease the morbidity and mortality of children due to vaccine-preventable diseases.

In your opinion, what are the most valuable skills for an immunization manger?

I think that apart from academic qualifications, an immunization manager needs team spirit, patience, humanitarianism, managerial spirit, and leadership. They should also know how to mobilize and how to plan useful and important activities.

If you or an immunization professional you know has done work you would like to share with the broader IAIM Network community, please nominate them for a future spotlight by emailing us at [email protected].