The majority of industrialized and some developing countries have established National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups (NITAGs). To enable systematic global monitoring of the existence and functionality of NITAGs, in 2011, WHO and UNICEF included related questions in the WHO/UNICEF Joint Reporting Form (JRF) that provides an official means to globally collect indicators of immunization program performance. These questions relate to six basic process indicators. According to the analysis of the 2013 JRF, data for 2012, notable progress was achieved between 2010 and 2012 and by the end of 2012, 99 countries (52%) reported the existence of a NITAG with a formal legislative or administrative basis (with a high of 86% in the Eastern Mediterranean Region - EMR), among the countries that reported data in the NITAG section of the JRF. There were 63 (33%) countries with a NITAG that met six process indicators (47% increase over the 43 reported in 2010) including a total of 38 developing countries. 11% of low income countries reported a NITAG that meets all six process criteria, versus 29% of middle income countries and 57% of the high income ones. Countries with smaller populations reported the existence of a NITAG that meets all six process criteria less frequently than more populated countries (23% for less populated countries versus 43% for more populated ones). However, progress needs to be accelerated to reach the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) target of ensuring all countries have support from a NITAG. The GVAP represents a major opportunity to boost the institutionalization of NITAGs. A special approach needs to be explored to allow small countries to benefit from sub-regional or other countries advisory groups.
Keywords: AFR; AMR; African Region; CDC; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Decade of Vaccines; DoV; EMR; EUR; Eastern Mediterranean Region; European Region; Evidence-based decision making; GVAP; Global Vaccine Action Plan; JRF; Joint Reporting Form; Monitoring; NITAG; National Immunization Technical Advisory Group; National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG); Region of the Americas; SEAR; SIVAC; South-East Asia Region; Supporting Independent Immunization and Vaccine Advisory Committees; UNICEF; United Nations Children's Fund; WHA; WHO; WHO/UNICEF Joint Reporting Form; WPR; Western Pacific Region; World Health Assembly; World Health Organization.
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