Abstract

Since its creation in 1974 by WHO World Health Assembly and until recently, the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) has changed little. However, in recent years, international financial support has enabled the introduction of many new vaccines. The arrival of these new vaccines (against pneumococcal infections, rotavirus diarrheas, cervical HPV infections...) or the likely future arrival of vaccines against dengue, malaria or HIV infection force developing countries to make technical decisions which are increasingly complex while taking into account the specificities of their own population. In a context of multiple health priorities, insufficient human, financial and logistical resources, as well as high cost of vaccines, countries should, more than ever, make decisions based on evidence. Thus practically all developed countries and some developing countries have already established their national immunization technical advisory groups (NITAGs) to facilitate the decision-making process tailored to their needs. To support the countries that do not yet have a NITAG, the Agence de Médecine Préventive (AMP), in partnership with the International Vaccine Institute, created the SIVAC Initiative (Supporting Independent Immunization and Vaccine Advisory Committees) with the financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and in collaboration with the World Health Organization. Given the lack of scientific publications on NITAGs, the SIVAC Initiative and WHO have developed a supplement to the journal Vaccine (The Role of National Advisory Committees in Supporting Evidence-Based Decision Making for National Immunization Programs. Vaccine 2010; 28 (S1):1-110), aiming to provide real examples of operational NITAGs, their mode of functioning, as well as recommendations for the implementation of a NITAG. This supplement includes 15 articles in English describing 15 NITAGs and five general articles. The articles are available free of charge on the NITAG Resource Center (www.nitag-resource.org) in English and also for some of them, their translation into French. To ensure better information for French readers, the Bulletin de la Société de Pathologie Exotique has agreed to publish in French the summaries of three important articles from this supplement. The first article "Informing decision makers: Experience and process of 15 National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups" summarizes the experiences and functioning modes of 15 NITAGs. The second article "NITAGs: Guidance for their establishment and strengthening" presents WHO guidelines on the matter. The third article "The SIVAC Initiative: A country-driven, multi-partner program to support evidence-based decision making" explains the mission and working methods of the SIVAC Initiative at country level.

decision making EPI Expanded Programme on Immunization health policy NITAG