In May 2012, the 194 member states of the World Health Assembly, endorsed the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP), setting ambitious goals and targets to catalyze a concerted global drive to minimize the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases in every country by 2020. Nearing the end of this decade of vaccines, significant gains have been achieved, although some of them are considered fragile as evidenced by outbreaks that have returned as a threat to vulnerable populations and most of the targets yet to be achieved.
Immunization has consistently been proven as one of the most cost-effective public health interventions, saving an estimated 2-3 million lives every year. In a 2018 report by the World Health Organization strategic action group of experts on immunization, 113 countries have introduced new vaccines, and more than 20 million additional children have been vaccinated since 2010. However, low national coverage, or pockets of low coverage caused multiple WHO regions to be affected with large measles and diphtheria outbreaks resulting in many deaths and is a reminder that many national immunization programs are still not achieving the goal of reaching every child.
As countries are preparing for the next steps after the lessons learned during the decade of vaccines, the Federation of Asian Pharmaceutical Associations (FAPA) is calling out to its Member Associations to take action and join in the development of their national immunization systems through involvement in policy and encouraging pharmacists to fulfill their roles in promoting immunization through their areas of practice. This call is consistent with the commitment of FAPA in 2015 to help prevent Antimicrobial Resistance and unnecessary use of antibiotics by reducing the risk of infections.
The 2019 FAPA Leaders Forum aims to promote high yield discussion among Member Association representatives, immunization experts and leaders from various areas of practice to share policy insights and experiences on how to promote immunization in each country using the strategic roles of the pharmacist. By the end of the forum, it is expected for each participating member association and individual participants to be able to answer the following questions:
1. What are the issues that must be prioritized in our country/ area of practice?
2. What are the specific targets that I/ we can commit to as a leader/ organization and how can I/ we achieve this in the next three (3) years?
3. With whom should I/we develop meaningful partnerships/ connections that will enable me/us to fulfill our target?
4. What are the challenges that must be addressed and opportunities that can help me achieve the identified targets?