AMP Receives $1.4 Million Grant From the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to
Improve Advocacy for VACCINES and Immunization Systems in West Africa

PARIS, Dec. 8 /CNW/ - The Agence de Médecine Préventive (AMP) has received a three-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to implement a program to support immunization advocacy in West Africa.

The program, called ADVocacy for IMmunization (ADVIM), is a collaborative effort involving the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and local finance, health, and planning ministries. ADVIM's advocacy platform will be developed by AMP and members of the EPIVAC international network, a group of 400 health professionals involved in immunization in 11 sub-Saharan African countries. The participating countries will be selected among those meeting the requirements for GAVI Alliance funding.

In West Africa, a lack of financial resources and public health infrastructure hinder the development of successful immunization programs. While most African governments committed to allocate 15% of their national budgets to health as part of the Abuja Declaration of April 2001, few of them have met this target. ADVIM recognizes that this goal may be unattainable in the near future and will thus focus on small improvements in immunization funding. In particular, the program will support local governments to develop strategies to overcome financial challenges and make resources go further.

"While budget support is essential for successful and sustainable immunization programs, additional components such as advocacy, communication, and social mobilization are just as important, especially at district level," said AMP chairman Philippe Stoeckel.

ADVIM will draw on relationships with district-level health officers and members of the EPIVAC training network to identify and leverage local resources to improve immunization systems.

"Only through strong local financial and political commitment will African countries benefit from the new vaccines becoming available," said ADVIM principal investigator Dorothy Leab. "Resource mobilization will be identified on the basis of policy decisions and the local situation. This will ensure that scarce funds are being used effectively."

ADVIM will have several components, including development of an evidence and capacity-building platform to support advocacy for immunization; assistance to countries to identify and overcome barriers to resource allocation; and establishment of mechanisms to sustain ongoing immunization funding advocacy efforts.

About AMP - Founded in 1972, AMP is a nonprofit organization with headquarters at the Institut Pasteur in Paris and offices in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, and Senegal. AMP's mission is to promote preventive medicine and public health by developing expertise and applied research in vaccinology; offering training in epidemiology and health program management; organizing scientific and technical meetings; and disseminating information on vaccinology and other health-related fields. For more information, please visit: http://www.aamp.org

About the EPIVAC international network (EPINET or RIE) - EPINET was created in 2007 as a component of the EPIVAC (for EPIdemiogoly and VACcinology) in-service and academic training program, which has been implemented since 2002 in sub-Saharan African GAVI-eligible countries. EPINET's main missions include: (1) providing evidence for immunization decision making through research activities, (2) mobilizing resources for immunization, and (3) sharing experiences and tools for improving immunization service delivery. For more information, please visit: http://www.epivac.org

About the GAVI Alliance - Launched in 2000, the GAVI Alliance is a public-private global health partnership that includes governments in industrialized and developing countries, international organizations (UNICEF, WHO, and the World Bank), vaccine manufacturers, research and technical agencies, non-governmental organizations, and foundations (notably the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). The Alliance's mission is to save children's lives and protect people's health by increasing access to immunization in poor countries. For more information, please visit: http://www.gavialliance.org

For more information, please contact Agence de Medecine Preventive: amp@aamp.org

SOURCE AGENCE DE MEDECINE PREVENTIVE (AMP)

For further information: For further information: Media only: Philippe J. Stoeckel, President, AMP, Tel: +33(0)1-5386-8920, pstoeckel@aamp.org

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AGENCE DE MEDECINE PREVENTIVE (AMP)

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