Immunization has made a significant impact on the health of the people of South Sudan, with services reaching and protecting even the most marginalized and vulnerable populations.
To improve the contribution of immunization to child survival and determine strategic directions for the new country Multi Year Plan (2017 – 2021), WHO collaborated with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and partners to review the current capacities of the immunization and surveillance system to identify and respond to gaps and challenges from 25 September to 5 October 2017 in Juba.
The MoH, along with WHO, UNICEF, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, John Snow Inc (JSI) and Core Group among others reviewed the management systems of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) and surveillance program; the immunization financing situation; the organization and the implementation of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance system, at all levels; including the laboratory capacity; human resources capacities and skills; and the strength and weaknesses of the EPI and surveillance data management system.
“Identifying innovative strategies to address the systemic gaps in human resources, service delivery and integrated diseases surveillance as well as data management is crucial in building a reserved capacity for resilience of the entire health system for South Sudan. The review has highlighted the need for more flexible policy options required of partners to respond to the wider needs of immunization for women and children”, said Mr Kofi Boateng, WHO EPI Focal Point.
During the 10 day external review, members of the team, led by the external experts assessed the country’s effectiveness and efficiency of the EPI program components as well as identified best practices at different levels visited for potential scaleup to improving Immunization coverage. In total the team visited seven state hubs, eight Counties, 17 Health facilities including two Protection of Civilian (PoCs) sites.
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