The Global Immunization Meeting: Successfully Navigating Transitions

In June of 2018, possibly the largest ever gathering of the immunization community took place in Kigali, Rwanda, co-hosted by WHO and UNICEF. From 26 to 28 June, the Global Immunization Meeting (GIM) was attended by over 200 participants representing key immunization stakeholders and partners at global, regional, and country levels.

Unlike past GIMs that covered key issues related to routine immunization strengthening, the implementation of new and under-utilized vaccines, and accelerated disease control efforts, the 2018 theme of the GIM was Navigating Transitions. This provided an opportunity to work toward a common understanding of current changes such as Gavi transition and polio transition, and to explore new directions for action as the Global Vaccine Action Plan comes to a close in 2020.

The meeting objectives were to:

  • Update global, regional, and country-level partners on key successes and challenges in immunization related to polio and Gavi transition
  • Provide a forum for formal and informal exchange of new ideas and innovations
  • Identify partner and country visions to achieve immunization programme goals after 2020.

The meeting consisted of a mix of multiple interactive session formats, providing many opportunities to engage and explore diverse aspects of immunization. The morning plenary sessions were dynamic and designed to challenge assumptions and bring new knowledge, and afternoon workshop sessions to provide an opportunity to explore technical topics in detail. Short sessions also took place to introduce new content areas and to share the latest updates on key themes. Lastly, a range of special sessions, including debates and ‘breakfast with an expert’ offered the occasion to dive into specific ‘hot’ topics. For staying up-to-date on all of the action, a meeting app equipped all participants with the agenda, notifications, and an activity tracker for sharing alerts and photos.

With the excellent quality of content across the board, attendees participated actively throughout the meeting. It would be impossible to pin-point any specific sessions in particular, however it should be noted that the plenary presentations were particularly thought-provoking. Prof. Helen Rees kicked off the meeting with a compelling presentation on the global shifts affecting the future of immunization, and day 2 featured Ola and Anna Rosling challenging our preconceptions about demographics, demonstrating that we’re not always right (apparently!), and why trends in global health are actually better than we think.

2018 Theme "Navigating Transitions"

WHO, UNICEF, and our partners on the GIM planning committee are looking forward to welcoming delegations to the 2018 Global Immunization Meeting, to be held in Kigali, Rwanda from 26-28 June 2018. The meeting will involve 200 participants, and will take place at the Kigali Convention Center, part of which is shown in the picture above.

The 2018 theme of the GIM will be Navigating Transitions, providing an opportunity to work toward a common understanding of changes such as Gavi transition, polio transition, and to explore new opportunities for action as the GVAP comes to a close in 2020. In addition to each morning’s plenary session and a series of short topic sessions, the provisional list of afternoon session topics can be found below.

Over the next few months, we will provide information about meeting logistics as well as opportunities such as:

·     Small group “breakfast with an expert” discussions

·     Displaying materials in the meeting’s marketplace

·     Evening “bar debates” on some of the field’s hot topics

·     Interactive discussion through the meeting’s smart phone app

We welcome you to follow us on Twitter @GIM2018Kigali for updates, reminders, and discussion ahead of the meeting.

We look forward to hosting a dynamic, interactive, and productive meeting in June. 

Afternoon Sessions (provisional)

  • Successful examples of polio transition and use of resources
  • Building managerial capacity including the transition to digital learning
  • Session on data-related innovations and transitions
  • Integration as part of overall program performance for EPI and UHC
  • Outside-In: What innovations from other sectors can be applied to immunization 
  • A review of best practices from the country prespective
  • Addressing urban RI challenges in the wake of weak urban health infrastructure
  • The role of EPI in conflict affected areas including areas experiencing large in/out migration
  • Life course vaccines: newborn, second year of life, older children, adolescent and adult including maternal immunization
  • Showcasing successful demand side interventions including those that address vaccine hesitancy
  • what can campaigns learn from each other
  • Models of private sector engagement
  • Gavi Transition Countries/Middle Income Countries
  • Effectiveness: using vaccine economics as evidence for new vaccine introduction and scale up
  • WHO AFRO immunization business case for the continent