IAIM Network Member Spotlight: Geoffrey Zimkambani Chirwa
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 Geoffrey Zimkambani Chirwa, who works at the EPI programme within the Ministry of Health in Malawi. This interview was edited for clarity and length.
How long have you been an immunization manager?
I have been an Immunization Manager for 5.5 years since January 1, 2014.
Why did you want to become an immunization manager?
I have worked in the immunization programme for 24 years since September 1995. I have been in various positions such as the Regional EPI Coordinator for the Northern Province, EPI Data Manager and Disease Surveillance Officer, EPI Logistics Officer and EPI Deputy Manager.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
The most rewarding aspect of my job is being part of the team that achieved the successful implementation of the EPI programme in Malawi and winning several awards from WHO, Gavi and UNICEF.
What is your biggest professional achievement to date?
My biggest professional achievement is leading a successful immunization programme in Malawi, which has resulted in the disappearance of many vaccine-preventable diseases such as whooping cough, diphtheria, poliomyelitis, neonatal tetanus and measles. These diseases used to kill many children if there was an outbreak and many children were crippled due to poliomyelitis, but now, this is no longer the case.
In your opinion, what are the most valuable skills for an immunization manger?
The most valuable skills for an immunization manager are leadership, management and coordination.
How can the IAIM Network help you as an immunization manager?
The IAIM network can help me by providing necessary reference materials, online training and providing peer visits with immunization managers.
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].