Highlights from the 2017 BMGF-SIVAC evaluation: what ongoing role for the global community in supporting NITAGs?
National Immunisation Technical Advisory Groups (NITAGs) provide independent guidance to health ministries to support evidence-based and nationally relevant immunisation decisions. The Gates Foundation (BMGF) funded the development and strengthening of NITAGs in low and middle-income countries through the 2008-2017 SIVAC initiative. As part of an end-line evaluation of the progress achieved by SIVAC over its lifetime, we examined its contributions to strengthening national decision-making around vaccines, within the broader policy context at global and national levels. We conducted a mixed-methods study, including global and national-level key informant interviews, literature and document reviews, and modelling. Most interviewees considered SIVAC very effective, while analysis of quantitative data showed SIVAC support was associated with reduced time until NITAG functionality. While NITAGs were particularly valued for providing independent and nationally owned evidence-based decision-making, they will need further developmental and strengthening support. While national governments could support NITAG functioning, external support is likely needed for requisite capacity building.
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