Strengthening health systems for better immunization outcomes in the European Region: experiences from GAVI
The GAVI Alliance is a partnership of key public and private actors involved in immunization. On 27-28 November a meeting was held in Istanbul, Turkey to improve understanding from European countries and partners on the achievements and lessons from GAVI health system support for better immunization outcomes.
Participants included Ministry of Health officials both from public health and immunization departments or programmes responsible for implementation; relevant GAVI Secretariat staff, UNICEF and relevant WHO Staff from headquarters, WHO/Europe and Country Offices.
Specifically, the focus was on:
- update and review of latest developments in focus and strategic direction of GAVI alliance support with respect to its health systems;
- presentation of country examples of health system work supported by GAVI and reflections on lessons learnt;
- sharing country experiences on graduation from GAVI programmes and lessons learnt; and
- discussion and review of ways of strengthening HSS investment linkage with immunization outcomes.
The meeting was organized through close collaboration of WHO Europe Health System and Immunization teams and was followed by two other meetings: the 16th Meeting of the European Regional Working Group for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and a workshop on support to countries graduating from GAVI support.
The meeting concluded that experiences shared indicate that countries have used GAVI HSS funds to address pertinent HS bottlenecks to immunization – linked to PHC, information systems, human resources, infrastructure, systems of financing and management.
GAVI phase out from a number of countries in the Region poses serious challenges and underlines the need for a health system approach supported by close collaboration of immunization and health system teams.