The first ever regional network of NITAGs is established
In 2015, South East Asia was the first WHO region to establish NITAGs in each of their countries. The 11 NITAGs since expressed a great interest in establishing a regional network dedicated to the activities of their committees and the exchange of experiences. The consultative workshop, wich took place on the April 7-8th, 2016, responded to their expectations by bringing together the representatives from Bhutan, Nepal, Indonesia, the Maldives, East Timor, Thailand, India, and Sri Lanka.
Dr. Sanath P. Lamabadusuriya, Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics in Sri Lanka and member of the regional technical advisory group, presided over the workshop. Dr. Nihal Abeysinghe, a consultant on vaccine preventable diseases for the WHO of South-East Asia, was a co-facilitator alongside the SIVAC team. This was a unique opportunity for the countries to share their experiences on the structure and functioning of their respective NITAG, especially expressing the challenges and the actions taken to overcome them. The meeting not only allowed for the identification of training needs necessary for the proper functioning of each NITAG in the region but also produced a mandate and a structure for the network, including the membership conditions, the member responsibilities, the coordination of the network, and the tools and materials necessary for the proper functioning. The sources of financing of the network will need to be secured to guarantee the sustainability of the network. The activities to be undertaken by the network were identified in the short, medium, and long term.
According to Prof. Sanath, this workshop constituted “a key historic moment for the establishment of the first regional network of NITAGs worldwide”. The President of the workshop is confident that with “the dynamism of the members present during this meeting, the network will achieve the targeted objectives”.