High level commitment to strengthening NITAGs despite political instability - the example of South Sudan
The South Sudan Immunization Technical Advisory Group (SSITAG) was originally established through a Ministerial order in January 2013. However, due to internal and external challenges, including the armed conflict of 2013 to 2015, the NITAG did not commence operations as intended.
The Expanded Programme of Immunization of the Ministry of Health with assistance from the Supporting Independent Immunisation and Vaccine Advisory Committees (SIVAC) Initiative led the development of a concept paper proposing the re-establishment of SSITAG. The concept paper was presented to the Minister of Health in December 2015 and culminated in a ministerial order issued on 22 January 2016, re-establishing SSITAG.
From 29 March 2016 to 2 April 2016, the SIVAC initiative held a full five day orientation workshop for members of SSITAG and Kenya National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (KENITAG) in Nairobi, Kenya. The training was organized to orient members of both NITAGs to the operations and functions of NITAGs as per WHO guidelines. In addition, SSITAG members utilized the workshop to develop the first draft of the SSITAG internal procedures manual and 2016 work plan, and elect the chair and vice chair of the re-established SSITAG.
Following successful completion of the workshop, SSITAG will hold its inaugural meeting in April 2016 to finalize and adopt the draft documents developed at the Nairobi workshop and set a date for its official launch.