National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups (NITAGs) are considered critical for the countries to strengthen national processes of independent, evidence-based, transparent and credible decision making for immunization programmes. WHO South East Region (SEAR) was the second region to have established NITAGsin all the countries. Sri Lanka and Thailand were the initial member states of the region to have NITAG equivalent committees in 1960 and 1967 respectively. The Indian NITAG was established in 2001. During the period 2006-2013, six more countries established the NITAGs. Timor-Leste formed NITAG in 2015. Bangladesh National Committee of Immunization Practices (NCIP) was working since 2008 and restructured to NITAG in 2019. The immunization program coverage in the region has shown notable progress during last decade. In 2018, eight countries had achieved ≥90% national coverage with DPT3, two countries >80% and one was nearing 80%. The region achieved the goal of polio eradication in 2014. All countries have sustained the maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination status. As of 2018, five countries have been verified for elimination of endemic measles and six countries have controlled rubella and CRS. During last 5 years, member states have introduced several newer vaccines either nationally or sub-nationally. SEA Region has met polio eradication, MNT elimination and new vaccine introduction related goals of Global Vaccine Action Plan 2010 - 2020 and Regional Vaccine Action Plan 2016-2020.

To document the status of the NITAGs and their contribution to the immunization programs in the member states, WHO SEAR planned an external and independent evaluation of the NITAG’s in the region. The scope of work for the evaluation of NITAGs in the region included:

  • Review the contribution of NITAGs in advising MOH and national immunization program on policies and strategies relating to vaccination, in recommending new vaccines introduction and immunization schedule changes through evidence based process.
  • Review NITAGs contribution in monitoring national immunization programmes in achieving SEAR-RVAP goals and other outcomes on NIP goals.
  • Identify country-specific priority actions to strengthen NITAGs in providing guidance to the national immunization programmes.
  • Formulate a set of generic lessons learned and recommendations on NITAGs for consideration of national governments and WHO Regional office to sustain the gains, accelerate and innovate to achieve the global, regional and national immunization targets.


This evaluation was conducted by a six member team during October 2019 and June 2020. Mixed methods were used for the evaluation including desk review of the relevant documents from the countries and WHO SEAR and interactions/interviews with the key stakeholders including NITAG members and other stakeholders related to the immunization program through either country visits (five countries) or web/tele-conferences (six countries). The reference period for evaluation was 2016-2019. A total of 85 interviews with key stakeholders were conducted across these countries. Information collected through interviews from each country were included to a summary checklist.

  • Report