With new projects launched, a new office opened, and milestones passed on several established initiatives, 2011 was an overall success for the Agence de Médecine Préventive (AMP). These achievements spanned the breadth of its activities in vaccinology research, immunization services strengthening, health policy and advocacy, and human resources for health.
Landmark vaccine supply chain project launches
Notable among new projects was LOGIVAC, a project jointly implemented with the World Health Organization (WHO) that aims to improve logistics for health, the vaccine supply chain and vaccine management through training of logisticians. Following funding approval from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the project held its first steering committee meeting in May, and finalized its consortium of partners in October.
Concurrently, the Africhol project to improve cholera surveillance, prevention, and outbreak response in Africa was initiated in eight countries; an important step towards the project’s aim of becoming a reference point for cholera research on the continent. At a meeting in Moputo, Mozambique, Africhol consortium members shared information, results and latest findings.
AMP’s work in cholera surveillance also received a boost from the signing of an agreement with the Institut Pasteur in Côte d'Ivoire (IPCI) in September to collaborate on certain vaccinology projects and research.
Elsewhere in Africa negotiations started with the Centre Muraz in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, to set-up a joint vaccinology research center called LAMIVAC (Laboratoire Mixte International de Vaccinology) in 2012.
Funding for pneumonia programs
This year also saw AMP’s meningitis and pneumonia program complete the first year of its PneumoTone surveillance study of children and adults in the Tône district of Togo, with numerous AMP researchers publishing high-profile papers on related studies and results.
In collaboration with the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health and with funding from Pfizer, AMP implemented a study on the impact of the Hajj on pneumococcal carriage. Pfizer also approved funding for an immunogenicity study of PCV13 in Burkina Faso.
‘Remarkable’ end to influenza project
Drawing to a close in 2011 meanwhile was the Influenza program’s SISA project to improve influenza surveillance and reporting capacities in eight sub-Saharan African countries. Ending on December 20, the project included the recruitment, training and deployment of five consultants to support the field activities. WHO officials considered the developments in Sierra Leone, where a functional influenza sentinel surveillance system has been put in place from scratch, as particularly remarkable.
Health policy and advocacy projects continue
Towards the year’s end, ADVIM (ADVocacy for IMmunization) held the classroom-learning phase of its latest training program in advocacy for immunization financing. The 39 students participating are studying how to analyze immunization systems in diverse national and international financial contexts. In December ADVIM also launched 20 mini advocacy projects to finance immunizations in the Benin, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire
The SIVAC Initiative too had a productive 2011. Among other activities, in January it established the Mozambique National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG), and paid a technical visit to the Australian NITAG in June. Deserving a mention also was its joint workshop with WHO’s Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean to improve collaboration between the National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) and NITAGs in 12 countries.
Other AMP successes in the field of health policy and advocacy in 2011 include the Rotavirus Vaccine Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (RVP-DRC), which completed its Component 1 phase and received the green light from GSK to start on Component 2.
Celebrations and new developments for the New Year
All the while in support of these projects throughout the year, AMP’s Training Unit/CIRHS worked on countless pedagogic packages and programs. These included a serious game in applied epidemiology in Africa for the SURVEA training program, and an additional e-learning course in vaccinology and health economics for the EPIVAC training program.
Looking ahead, AMP shows no sign of slowing down in 2012. In addition to continuing to develop and expand projects across its domains of activity, it will celebrate its 40th anniversary and EPIVAC’s 10th, launch a subsidiary AMP Services, as well as an endowment fund.