Monica Graham, 206.302.6072, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seattle, July 31, 2013—PATH today announced a five-year, US$19.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help countries strengthen their immunization management systems.
Grounded in the belief that routine immunizations and new vaccine introductions are two of the best investments to improve health around the globe, the Better Immunization Data (BID) Initiative will support low-resource African countries interested in improving their information system products, policies, and practices around data quality, collection, and use.
The BID Initiative is one of the first and largest data management projects of its kind, bringing together on-the-ground knowledge of immunization programs with a focus on eHealth and data quality and use issues. It recognizes that to improve immunization management, information technology is only part of the solution—and that it may not always be the right solution for all levels of the health system. The BID Initiative will invest in supporting existing and new national health information systems and help address the operational challenges health workers face in delivering immunization services.
“Great immunization programs have a culture of using data for improving system performance,” said Steve Davis, president and CEO of PATH. “The BID Initiative is a transformative innovation that will shine a light on the challenges surrounding data collection, quality, and use, and identify practical, country-owned, country-led solutions in immunization that could spread to other health interventions. If we’re successful, we expect better data to lead to more immunized children in the course of this decade.”
PATH, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and working with John Snow, Inc., will partner with countries and global stakeholders to solve these data collection, quality, and use issues. While the initial focus will be on ensuring that the most accurate information is made available for the best decision-making around immunization programs, the BID Initiative inherently recognizes that point-of-care service delivery collects information beyond immunizations.
“This initiative will be driven by user needs at each level of the health system and will focus on supporting systems that tie into the Child Health Record,” said Liz Peloso, key adviser to the BID Initiative. “We recognize that in order to be successful, we must partner with countries and stakeholders from the outset to build on what’s already working, address what’s not working, focus on country priorities, and complement existing investments. For this reason, we have not preselected countries or specified a set of information system solutions. Our goal is to partner directly with countries to prioritize information system improvements in immunization management and ensure we’re truly addressing the real world problems they face.”
As a first step, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will invite a number of African countries to a country consultation meeting to outline the concept, collect feedback, and identify partners interested in working with the BID Initiative. The BID Initiative will partner with lead countries to develop and deploy scalable solution components involving products, practices, people, and packaging these components into a replicable solution that can be easily and cost-effectively adopted by other countries interested in using the solution to improve their immunization management.