Immunization experts meet in Johannesburg to discuss status of immunization

04 December 2017 - The WHO Africa Regional Immunization Technical Advisory Group (RITAG) will convene in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 5-7 December 2017 for its biannual meeting. The RITAG – which is composed of 15 immunization experts from across fields, including government bodies, academia, clinical practice and public health, among others – provides strategic guidance to the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, on regional immunization policies and programs.

The RITAG meeting is an opportunity to assess the status of immunization in Africa and evaluate persistent challenges toward achieving regional and global goals, including targets set in the Regional Strategic Plan for Immunization (RSPI) and the Global Vaccine Action Plan. While Africa has made progress toward increasing access to immunization in the past few decades, immunization coverage has stagnated recently. Specific topics to be discussed at the meeting include maternal & neonatal tetanus elimination, cholera control and access to affordable vaccines for middle-income countries.

Additionally, the RITAG will discuss country-level plans for the upcoming funding transitions. Most notably, as Africa nears polio eradication, critical resources – both financial and technical – that countries have historically received for immunization through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative are expected to decrease. Countries must prepare now to fill these gaps, so progress is not reversed.

At the end of the meeting, the RITAG will share the key outcomes from their discussion and outline recommendations on how to accelerate progress toward achieving universal access to immunization in Africa. Throughout the meeting, RITAG members will seek input from WHO experts, immunization partners and civil society organizations, who will also be represented at the meeting.

Following the RITAG meeting, WHO AFRO will host a session to discuss the business case for immunization in Africa. The business case outlines how WHO AFRO will support immunization programs in member countries going forward.

If you’re interested in attending or would like to learn more about the meeting, please contact:

Helena O'Malley
Immunization/Polio Technical Officer
World Health Organization – Regional Office for Africa
Email: omalleyh [at] who.int; Skype: helenaomalley1
Tel (office): +47-241-39341; Mobile: +242-05-05-50-654 (via WhatsApp & Viber)