South-eastern Europe Health Ministerial Meeting on Immunization

20 February 2018, Podgorica, Montenegro

The Ministry of Health, Montenegro and WHO/Europe will hold a South-eastern Europe health ministers’ meeting to discuss the importance of vaccination as a critical public health intervention and a public good. Recognizing the value immunization represents in terms of health, social and economic returns, the meeting will highlight the challenges and opportunities for Member States in the south-eastern European (SEE) region. SEE ministers of health will be invited to endorse a “statement of intent”, and the process of developing a regional roadmap, with specific strategic objectives and targets to improve the impact of national immunization programmes, will be initiated.

Short presentations and statements will set the scene before a roundtable discussion is co-chaired by the Minister of Health of Montenegro and the WHO Regional Director for Europe.

Objectives

  • underline how strong national immunization systems are an integral part of a well-functioning health system and that immunization programmes benefit from integration in strong health systems through coordination with other programmes, the private sector, partners and communities to deliver existing and introduce new vaccines, ensure vaccination throughout the life-course and attain quality, equity and coverage goals;
  • discuss shared good practices and opportunities to achieve the goals and strategic objectives of the European Vaccine Action Plan (2015–2020) in the SEE region and agree on a pragmatic way forward to address shared challenges. The discussion will consider, but not be limited to, options for securing access to affordable vaccine supply, evidence-informed decision-making, and sustainable financing for immunization;
  • consider country-specific and joint actions to counteract anti-vaccination sentiment and stimulate demand for routine childhood vaccination.

Expected outcomes

  • increased knowledge and understanding of the regional programme priorities, strategies, monitoring indicators and objectives;
  • endorsement of a “statement of intent”, providing a foundation upon which joint action, partnership and collaboration can be strengthened and scaled-up to tackle shared immunization programme challenges. Thereunder,
    • reiterating commitment to the European Vaccine Action Plan (2015–2020) goals and objectives;
    • endorsing the development and implementation of a SEE roadmap to tackle and overcome sub-region-specific challenges;
    • fostering a strengthened working relationship between SEE Member States, partners and stakeholders; with the goal of implementing a joint roadmap, developing joint initiatives and exploring new areas of collaboration.