Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
BURNS, Julianne E. et al. Descriptive analysis of immunization policy decision making in the Americas. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2009, vol.26, n.5, pp. 398-404. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892009001100003.
OBJECTIVES: Reducing and eliminating vaccine-preventable diseases requires evidence-based and informed policy decision making. Critical to determining the functionality of the decision-making process for introduction of a new vaccine is understanding the role of the national immunization technical advisory group (ITAG) in each country. The aim of this study is to document the current situation of national level immunization policy decision making for use in the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) ProVac Initiative. METHODS: A structured 66-variable questionnaire developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with the University of Ottawa was distributed to all WHO regions; it was composed of dichotomous, multiple-choice, and open-ended questions. Questionnaires were e-mailed or faxed to the six WHO regional offices and the offices distributed them to all member states. This paper analyzes surveys from the Americas as part of PAHO's ProVac Initiative. RESULTS: Twenty-nine countries of the Americas answered the survey. They conveyed that immunization policy making needed to be improved and further supported by organizations such as PAHO. Areas of improvement ranged from organization and technical support to strengthening capacity and infrastructure to improved coordination among stakeholders. This survey also highlighted a variety of ITAG processes that need further investigation. CONCLUSION: This survey supports the efforts of PAHO's ProVac Initiative to disseminate knowledge and best practices for an immunization policy decision-making framework through the development of clear definitions and guidelines. By highlighting each problem noted in this study, ProVac will assist countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to build national capacity for making evidence-based decisions about introduction of new vaccines.
Keywords : Immunization; policy making; decision making; advisory committees; Latin America.