French Agency Receives 10 Million Dollar Grant From the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Support the Establishment of National Vaccine Advisory Committees in Africa and Asia



    PARIS, July 30 /CNW/ - The French agency Agence de Medecine Preventive
(AMP) has received a grant of 10 million dollars from the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation to support the development of National Vaccine Advisory Committees
in Africa and Asia. These Committees will help the National Health Authorities
of GAVI eligible[1] countries to implement vaccination policy and programs
adapted to their needs and to introduce new vaccines. AMP will develop this
project in partnership with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI, Seoul)
and in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), and its regional
and national offices.
    Vaccine advisory committees exist predominantly in developed countries,
where their role is to make recommendations to national governments on vaccine
policy. In the absence of such expert committees, most poorer countries rely
on advice from international agencies, and often do not establish their own
national recommendations.
    "National expertise is particularly needed today with the availability of
new vaccines against meningitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, cervical cancer, and
various forms of viral encephalitis, which could be introduced shortly," said
Philippe Stoeckel, Chairman of AMP. The situation may become more complex with
the development of vaccines against malaria, HIV, and other diseases, which
could become available in the coming years. While they can provide protection
against some of the world's leading killers, these vaccines may be expensive,
may require new approaches for the organization of vaccination, and may
compete for limited resources with other health-care priorities. Important
efforts have been made by the GAVI Alliance and Fund (formerly the Global
Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization) to strengthen immunization programs
and introduce new vaccines in developing countries. For sustainable progress
to be made, it is important for countries to design their own vaccination
strategies according to their specific needs. For this, the expertise of
National Vaccine Advisory Committees can be critical.
    The seven-year grant allocated to AMP to "support the establishment of
national processes to enhance evidence-based decision-making in immunization
and health" will thus focus on the establishment of National Vaccine Advisory
Committees.
    The AMP will oversee the entire grant and have main responsibility for
its implementation in Africa, while its partner, the International Vaccine
Institute (IVI) in Seoul, Korea, will be responsible for the program in Asia.
    Both AMP and IVI will provide technical assistance and guidance to the
newly established committees; develop and refine tools to assist committees
(such as standard decision-making protocols to be adapted by countries,
on-site and distance training opportunities, and an interactive web site);
promote sustainability; and share experience in developing and disseminating
products and resources that will help other countries to develop their own
national advisory committees.
    Target countries will be selected among those meeting the requirements
for GAVI Alliance funding. Selection criteria will include an assessment of
existing capacity and strong local commitment.

    About AMP - the Agence de Medecine Preventive is a not-for-profit
organization, with headquarters at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, and offices
in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire et Senegal. Its mission is to promote
preventive medicine in the field of vaccinology and infectious disease. AMP
develops expertise and applied research in vaccinology and offers training in
epidemiology and in management of public health programmes. AMP also organizes
scientific and technical meetings, as well as dissemination of information on
health and vaccinology. For more information, please visit http://www.aamp.org

    About IVI

    The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is the world's only
international organization devoted exclusively to developing and introducing
new and improved vaccines to protect the world's poorest people, especially
children in developing countries. An initiative of the United Nations
Development Program and based in Seoul, IVI conducts research in Asia, Africa
and Latin America on vaccines against diarrheal infections, bacterial
meningitis, pneumonia, Japanese encephalitis and dengue fever. For more
information, please visit http://www.ivi.int.

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

    ---------------------------------

    [1] The GAVI Alliance is a public-private partnership created in 2000 to
    save children's lives and protect people's health by increasing access to
    immunization in poor countries. It provides support to national
    governments through the GAVI Fund. Eligibility is determined by national
    income and only countries with a gross national income (GNI) per capita
    below US$1,000 in 2003 qualify (there are currently 72 eligible
    countries).





For further information:

For further information: Philippe J. Stockel, Telephone number :
+33(0)1-5386-8920, E-mail : pstoeckel@aamp.org, Mobile phone :
+33(0)6-09-69-57-90

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AGENCE DE MEDECINE PREVENTIVE (AMP)

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