Having the appropriate knowledge, information, and tools is key to ensure the proper functioning of NITAGs and the development of recommendations based on evidence. To this end, SIVAC has developed various activities.
NITAG Resource Center
In collaboration with partners, SIVAC has developed a multi-lingual online NITAG Resource Center (NRC). Targeted towards NITAGs and the global immunization community, the website provides information and services to enable NITAGs to operate effectively.
Contributors to the NRC include regional and international organizations, technical agencies, universities, and countries involved in improving the use of evidence-based decision-making processes for immunization policies and programs. Launched in July 2010, resources are continuously added and updated.
The NRC provides three dedicated services:
- The “NITAG Observatory”: Provides information on NITAG creation, activities, functioning, and recommendations as well as news and upcoming events for NITAGs worldwide.
- The “Digital Library”: Offers access to documentation and tools designed to facilitate evidence-based decision making for immunization policies and programs. Most documents and tools are developed by partners and cover many areas to consider when developing recommendations (epidemiology, health economics, logistics and programmatic issues, health policy, etc.).
- The “Center of Expertise”: In addition to a catalog of existing courses in vaccinology, it provides online multimedia “Rapid Briefings” specifically targeted and developed for NITAG members who do not have a lot of time to spend on their own training.
Operational Research and Tools Development
There is consensus among the international community on the value of evidence-based immunization policies and programs. Yet, the notion of “evidence-based” and the role of the NITAGs raise several questions
SIVAC studies these questions, and, based on its findings, develops material that aims to enhance the use of evidence, the functioning of NITAGs, and the integration of these committees within the national decision-making structure. These activities are conducted in full partnership with WHO and technical agencies.
As a first output, SIVAC published a supplement in Vaccine magazine entitled “The Role of National Advisory Committees in Supporting Evidence-Based Decision Making for National Immunisation Programs.”
Research is currently being done on topics such as output and outcome indicators to measure NITAG effectiveness, coordination between National Regulatory Agencies (NRA) and NITAGs, and the use of data for the preparation and development of recommendations.
Sub-Regional Technical Workshops
In addition, SIVAC co-organizes, in collaboration with WHO and other partners, sub-regional technical workshops on topics related to evidence-based decision making and NITAGs. Events bring together representatives from NITAGs and experts from various groups and institutions.