The Provincial Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) meeting was held in Erbil, Iraq, between November 11 and 13, 2018. Thirty-six national and provincial EPI managers representing the majority of Iraq’s health directorates participated in the meeting. The UNICEF country office EPI team and GHD/EMPHNET were also present.
Participants reviewed the annual EPI progress at all levels. They examined the current immunization coverage and outlined cold chain and effective vaccine management activities.
GHD/EMPHNET’s representatives introduced the activities proposed to be implemented in collaboration with the Iraq Ministry of Health for the upcoming year. These activities cover areas such as applying routine immunization micro-plans, strengthening supportive supervision, and establishing community-based surveillance within high risk districts. Within this introduction, supporting training on EPI risk communication was identified as a priority area of implementation of the EPI Communication Strategy.
Furthermore, GHD/EMPHNET’s representatives outlined joint achievements made with the MoH for the past year in areas of microplanning training, supportive supervision, and developing a communication strategy. The current progress in the Appreciative Inquiry initiative and AFP surveillance were also outlined.
At the conclusion of the meeting, participants came out with recommendations pertaining to continuing logistic and capacity building support and maximizing coordination among involved parties in Iraq.