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Healthcare staff training in Solomon Islands to strengthen understanding of adverse events following immunisation

As part of Australia’s ongoing support of COVID-19 and routine immunisation in the Indo-Pacific region, Australian experts led a training workshop for immunisation providers in the Solomon Islands to enhance their understanding and reporting of adverse events following immunisation (AEFI). 

A full-day hybrid training workshop was held in Honiara, Solomon Islands in July. The workshop was attended online by 37 participants from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) and other partner organisations. Participants from remote provinces also joined in the training remotely.   

The AEFI training was developed by the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS), the Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA) and other members of the ARIA alliance in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. It included seven interactive modules tailored to the Pacific context and was presented by technical experts from WHO, TGA and NCIRS. This was the second AEFI training workshop in the Pacific following on from a successful session in Nauru in May 2022.

The training was delivered as part of the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Australian Expert Technical Assistance Program for Regional COVID-19 Vaccine Access: Policy, Planning and Implementation (AETAP-PPI) program. 

This program allows countries in South East Asia and the Indo-Pacific to access technical advice from Australian immunisation experts to support planning, implementation and monitoring of COVID-19 vaccination rollout programs.

Jeniffer Anga, national coordinator of the Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI) in the Solomon Islands coordinated the workshop, supported by technical staff at the Solomon Islands WHO office. Dr Padmasiri (Pad) Eswara Aratchige, a senior technical officer based at NCIRS, who was deployed to the Solomon Islands in March to support immunisation services delivery in the country also assisted with the workshop. 

The staff from the Ministry of Health and participants highly appreciated the workshop. Following the interest generated through the workshop, the EPI program has decided to organise provincial-level consultations and training to re-establish AEFI surveillance in the Solomon Islands.

Sols training_team
Coordinating workshop team pictured in foreground with remote participants in background. From left: Tracy Kofela (WHO), Dr Sonja Tanevska (WHO), Jeniffer Anga (National Immunisation Coordinator, MHMS), Dr Alex Stephens (DFAT), Dr Pad Aratchige (NCIRS), Florence Nokali (Surveillance Officer, MHMS). Photo credit: Esther Nuria