Countdown Immunization MultiCountry Project Kicks off

On May 28, 2024, the  multicountry study on immunization coverage and inequalities held a virtual  inception meeting with various stakeholders including representatives from the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC); Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and representatives from African country collaborations.

The immunization study’s aims are to:

  • Enhance country analytical capacity for coverage and equity of immunization;
  • Produce annual reports on immunization coverage and equity using all available data sources with a focus on subnational levels, that can be used to inform country, regional and global (WUENIC) monitoring of progress; and
  • Produce annual reports with summarizes of progress and achievements including a small set of quantitative indicators to facilitate learning about the new approach.

The meeting provided an opportunity to share the project objectives, approach and activities, expected outputs, data sources, work plan among others.

In his opening remarks, Countdown to 2023 Project Director Cheikh Faye noted that the project was a collaboration between Countdown, APHRC, GAVI and WHO to strengthen country level estimates on immunization while looking at different data sources and indicators.

Danielle Boyda, head of measurement and strategic information at Gavi noted that Gavi is delighted to be joining Countdown’s efforts by putting resources to expand Countdown’s supporting countries to strengthen analysis of their immunization data.

“We are looking specifically at sub national level which is very important in helping understand the progress and improve programming and how resources are used to reach more children with vaccines. We will also support WHO work in Countdown which cuts across reproductive, maternal, newborn, children and adolescents health services, immunization included,” Boyda said.

Speaking on behalf of WHO and UNICEF, George Mwinnyaa, immunization statistics and monitoring specialist said that the project was incredibly important, particularly given the challenges faced in monitoring immunization programs both at the global and national levels.

“We will have immense solutions and opportunities through this initiative with Countdown to address some of the core difficulties we face in our attempt to estimate possible immunization coverage to guide global level advocacy and initiatives,” Mwinnyaa said. “This is an engagement we are really excited about and look forward to, hopefully an exercise that will help us to do well and will be very beneficial for country level monitoring exercise as well as global level advocacy.”

Ties Boerma, former Countdown project director,  said that immunization is a great topic as there is a lot of data to work with, and it would be great to incorporate Countdown collaborative approaches for the success of  the project.