Yulia Yurova, Gavi
Imagine that you are a manager responsible for a national immunisation programme. Through evidence-based case studies and advocacy, you have secured your Finance and Health Ministry’s endorsement to apply for a range of Gavi-supported vaccines: now it’s up to you to ensure political commitment is translated into life-saving protection for the next generation of children. What’s your first step?
From now on, immunisation managers can start by logging in to the Gavi Country Portal. This new online platform is accessible to all-Gavi-supported countries, and streamlines the application process for vaccines.
Dr. Htar-Htar Lin, National Program Manager for Immunization at the Ministry of Health in Myanmar together with her colleagues, was one of the portal’s first users in January earlier this year. She plans to put it to immediate use. “There are many new vaccines in the pipeline that we are going to request through Gavi support,” she says. More than 70 countries are expected to join Myanmar, applying for or renewing vaccine support in this way during the next round of applications in May 2016.
Before the portal, the road to Gavi support could be long and complex. Countries had to complete pages and pages of application documents before submitting their proposals via email. This process was difficult to track, and often resulted in multiple versions of the same document.
Portal training in action. Photo: Yulia Yurova.
The country portal simplifies this application process, providing a single place where countries can find all the latest Gavi information. Countries also use the portal to submit their annual progress reports describing how they are using funding support; this is helping to make for shorter, more focused reports.
Countries can input data at any point in the year and, when they do, a special ‘autosave’ function guards against losing information because of a poor internet connection. Where possible, additional information from both partners and countries will be also accessible through the portal.
To help countries capitalise on the new tool, Gavi has developed online guidelines in English, French, Spanish and Russian, covering the main languages of Gavi-supported countries. A special support team will also be mobilised throughout Gavi’s window for applications later this year.
Dr. Daniel Ngemera, an immunisation specialist at UNICEF’s Myanmar Office, is positive about the future of the platform. “It is extremely user friendly,” he says. “Most important, with a small investment of time, you can achieve a lot.”