The Global NITAG Network (GNN) meeting was organized this year by the Public Health Agency of Canada with the strong support of WHO HQ. This annual meeting brought National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) members from across the globe to Ottawa to discuss the network’s activities, the barriers to reach the GVAP target and the lessons learnt in building NITAG structure and evaluating NITAGs.
The meeting offered a balanced mix of presentations and panel discussions on various topics, including the results of NITAG-related surveys, the conflict of interest policies, the structure of NITAG secretariat, the training material and barriers to be fully functional.
The key takeaways from the meetings include:
- The GNN is a growing forum that requires commitment from donors and public health agencies;
- As new partners get involved in NITAG support, the training material must be updated and standardized, and existing material developed to address the most frequent training request situation;
- NITAGs recognize the need to characterize better functionality beyond the six WHO criteria and support regular evaluation activities to do so. Dedicated tools are available to conduct evaluations;
- Success stories from different countries are valuable instruments to help NITAGs improve functionality and address challenges. Their promotion and publishing need to be fostered;
- The next GNN meeting will be organized in Atlanta, USA, as a back-to-back event to the US NITAG (ACIP) meeting. All NITAGs are encouraged to attend and contribute.