BCG World Atlas: Vaccination Policies and Practices

PLoS Medicine
(Accessed 27 March 2011)

The BCG World Atlas: A Database of Global BCG Vaccination Policies and Practices
Alice Zwerling, Marcel A. Behr, Aman Verma, Timothy F. Brewer, Dick Menzies, Madhukar Pai Health in Action, published 22 Mar 2011

Summary Points
Despite nearly a century of use, the Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine continues to be controversial, with known variations in BCG substrains and vaccine efficacy.

Because vaccination policies and practices vary across time and countries, we created the first searchable, online, open access database of global BCG vaccination policy and practices, the BCG World Atlas (, which contains detailed information on current and past BCG policies and practices for over 180 countries.

The Atlas is for clinicians, policymakers, and researchers and provides information that may be helpful for better interpretation of tuberculosis (TB) diagnostics as well as design of new TB vaccines.

Vaccinations launched for children in Tunisia-Libya border camps

WHO said that the Tunisian Ministry of Public Health, supported by WHO, UNICEF and other health partners, started a vaccination campaign for an estimated 100 children under 5 years currently residing in Tunisia-Libya border camps. WHO noted that “strong winds and whirling sand are slowing down preparations, but the organizers are aware of the critical importance of vaccination.” Dr. Irshad Shaikh of the World Health Organization said, “As the number of families arriving at the camp incrementally rises, coupled with the fact that the length of stay of some of the families can get longer especially for those from Somalia and Eriteria (countries in conflict themselves), the risk for vaccine preventable illnesses in children inherently goes up.” The vaccination includes 7 antigens – diphtheria, tetanus, poliomyelitis, BCG, measles, whooping cough and hepatitis B.

WHO, partners announce five-year immunization plan for Haiti

PAHO/WHO, officials from Haiti’s Ministry of Public, UNICEF and other partners outlined a new plan to improve immunization services in Haiti over the next five years, including the introduction of three new vaccines. Ariel Henry of Haiti’s health ministry said, “We hope to start this multi-year immunization plan as soon as possible in order to save lives and protect Haitians. Diarrhea and pneumonia are the main causes of death in Haitian children, so we also plan to include rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines in our strategic plan.” Dr. Ciro de Quadros of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, who chaired the meeting, said, “This plan shows the great work being done on immunization and the strong commitment to improve immunization services, and the international community backs the plan in Haiti.”

HHS Report – Clinical Preventive Services Among Older Adults: Closing the Gap

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report on “critical gaps which exist between older Americans who receive potentially lifesaving preventive services and those who do not.” Clinical prevention services examined in the report include vaccinations that protect against influenza and pneumococcal disease (e.g., bloodstream infections, meningitis, and pneumonia), screenings for the early detection of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, diabetes, lipid disorders, and osteoporosis, and smoking cessation counseling. The report was published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in partnership with HHS’ Administration on Aging, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Enhancing Use of Clinical Preventive Services Among Older Adults: Closing the Gap is available at:

Global Fund announces financial safeguards panel leaders

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced that former President of Botswana Festus Mogae and former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt “have agreed to lead a high-level panel of experts that will conduct an independent and thorough review of the Global Fund’s financial safeguards.” Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund, commented, “The appointment of this panel is part of the Global Fund commitment to ensuring our financial controls are the most robust possible, and that donor investments go directly to fighting AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Sound financial controls and anti-corruption protections are essential elements in our continued ability to save millions of lives, and to facilitating social and economic development in the more than 140 countries we support.” The panel “will assess the Global Fund’s current practices in financial oversight and implementation. The panel will also make recommendations where necessary to help strengthen the Global Fund’s fiscal controls and anti-corruption protections. This review is part of a broader set of measures that continue to be implemented to strengthen the Global Fund’s financial safeguards.”

Gates Foundation: Round 7 of Grand Challenges Explorations

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced Round 7 of Grand Challenges Explorations, its US$100 million grant initiative to encourage innovation in global health research. The initiative “offers scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs the opportunity to win $100,000 grants to pursue unconventional ideas that could transform health in developing countries, and focuses on research areas where creative, unorthodox thinking is most urgently needed.: The topics in this round are:

– The Poliovirus Endgame: Create Ways to Accelerate, Sustain and Monitor Eradication

– Create the Next Generation of Sanitation Technologies

– Create Low-Cost Cell Phone-Based Solutions for Improved Uptake and Coverage of Childhood Vaccinations

– Design New Approaches to Cure HIV Infection

– Explore Nutrition for Healthy Growth of Infants and Children

– Apply Synthetic Biology to Global Health Challenges