Nitags

How to support countries to create, strengthen, or evaluate NITAGs?
You will find here documents to guide you through each step.

National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups (NITAGs) are multidisciplinary groups of national experts responsible for providing independent, evidence-informed advice to health authorities on policy issues related to immunization and vaccines for all population groups. Various global partners (World Health Organization, WHO, headquarters and regional offices; SIVAC; U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance; and existing NITAGs) provide direct support to establish and/or strengthen NITAGs to build their capacity to use evidence-informed decision making processes aligned with international standards.

This page provides essential documents needed for NITAG establishment, strengthening, and evaluation. It does not feature all types of existing materials, mainly because they are being constantly updated and new materials are under development.

CREATE

Establishing a NITAG requires high-level commitment from national health authorities. Advocacy and good communication with all technical partners at country-level is necessary to avoid misunderstandings and confusion about the NITAG role and scope, especially perceived overlap between NITAGs and other existing technical committees.

Four questions need to be raised when considering establishing a NITAG:

  1. What is a NITAG really?
  2. How would a NITAG complement other existing immunization committees in the country?
  3. Who should be involved at national level?
  4. What type of support is available in this process? And from whom?

3 documents to consult

STRENGTHEN

Strengthing a NITAG is mainly articulated around organizational support and capacity building.

A prerequisite for successful capacity building is the existence of a well-staffed, competent NITAG executive secretariat. The secretariat is responsible for coordinating the preparation of technical documents and collating the data to be reviewed by committee members. These tasks are intensive and generally require at least one dedicated person within the secretariat.

Strengthening can be provided mainly through:

  • Normative documents (e.g. guidelines for issuing evidence-informed recommendations including methodologies to critically assess evidence and write recommendation briefs) issued by WHO and partners
  • In-person training on critical topics such as the mapping of immunization stakeholders, the functioning of working groups, the use of accepted methodologies to assess scientific evidence, or the methodology for writing policy briefs

The support of technical partners to ensure that appropriate evidence is collated and that accepted procedures are followed is also fundamental. In addition, trainings and continuous technical support have proven to be instrumental in ensuring NITAG secretariats are well equipped for their role.

4 documents to consult

EVALUATE

Every few years, NITAGs should undergo a performance evaluation. This evaluation is the opportunity for NITAGs to ensure that they meet the international standards for NITAG functioning and to highlight their strengths and weaknesses. The WHO has defined a series of 17 indicators (which include the six indicators of the JRF), classified in three categories:

  • Process indicators to monitor NITAG functionality
  • Output indicators to assess the quality and relevance of the evidence-informed recommendations
  • Outcome indicators to evaluate the impact of technical recommendations on government policies and strategies

The assessment can be performed by the ministry of health itself or by an external body.

5 documents to consult