Between 2017 and 2018, GHD/EMPHNET supported the Iraq Ministry of Health (MoH) in a series of training targeting expanded program on immunization (EPI) staff on the development of high-quality micro-plans for routine immunization (RI) in all main health centers providing vaccination in selected eight health directorates. These were Baghdad Al-Kerkh, Babylon, Diwaniya, Diyala, Kerbala, Thi-Qar, Muthana, and Wasit. A total number of 939 EPI staff were trained in 456 health centers in 50 districts. By the end of every training, every health center had a quality RI microplans ready for implementation.
To assess the implementation of these RI microplans as well as EPI supportive supervision following this series of training, GHD/EMPHNET supported the Iraq MoH in an assessment targeting seven districts in the afore-mentioned provinces.
The assessment commenced on January 7, 2019, and it concluded on January 10, 2019. Forty-two health centers were randomly selected at the district level, from which six health centers in each district were assessed. This assessment identified existing gaps and weaknesses om the current development and implementation of high-quality micro-plans for routine immunization. It also identified current status of the planning and implementation of EPI supportive supervision.
Identifying these gaps serves the development process of plans for future improvement and it contributes to increasing the performance of routine immunization. With improved RI, the goal of vaccinating every child everywhere in Iraq can be achieved.
The team responsible for collecting the data comprised seven groups. Two assessors were assigned within each group, as well as an EPI manager, and FETP graduate. Data was collected using three questionnaires; one was to be completed in the health province, the second at the district level, and the third was to be filled for each of the six health centers. The assessors collected this information by using the mobile data application.
Prior to this field activity, GHD/EMPHNET and the Iraq MoH conducted a two-day training for the assessment team. The objective of the training was to provide information on the assessment objectives as well as the assessment methodology. From another angle, the training also served to ensure that a standard process is set to improve the quality of the data. A practical field exercise on using the assessment tool was also held as part of this training.
The results of this assessment will be available within one month.