SIVAC supports new NITAGs in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

     The SIVAC (Supporting Independent Immunization and Vaccine Advisory Committees) Initiative said it recently supported the establishment of National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups (NITAGs) in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. SIVAC, established in 2009, is managed by the Agence de Médecine Préventive (AMP) in partnership with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI). The Initiative “aims to support the creation or strengthening of sustainable NITAGs in low- and middle-income countries. The purpose is to enhance the use of evidence-based decision-making processes in the development of national immunization programs and policies.” SIVAC said Kazakhstan is the first middle-income country to create a NITAG with SIVAC support, and that it helped a national team to develop a concept paper detailing NITAG terms of reference based on WHO guidelines. The opening ceremony of the NITAG was held in Almaty on 23 April 23 2012, in the presence of the 13 committee members and chair, Dr. Bekshin (chief sanitary doctor), and Dr. Christian Loucq, director general of IVI. In Kyrgyzstan, with SIVAC support, the honorable Minister of Public Health, Dr. Dinara Saginbayeva, issued a decree establishing a NITAG to ensure that national immunization policies are developed using evidence-based processes. The committee is chaired by Dr. Babadzhanov, pediatrician at the National Center for Maternal and Child Care, and includes 13 additional members. The inauguration ceremony was held in Bishkek on 6 April 2012. IVI Director General Dr. Christian Loucq said, “Such committees represent a great step forward for these countries. Experts in different fields of vaccinology will gather and provide recommendations based on evidence and the local context. These committees will then be very helpful in guiding the Minister of Health to make informed decisions related to immunization programs, especially in the context of the possible introduction of new vaccines.”