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Strengthening immunisation policy decision making in Lao PDR

A collaboration between the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the Australian Regional Immunisation Alliance (ARIA) is aiming to further strengthen immunisation policy decision-making in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR). Supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the project will expand the capacity of the Lao PDR National Immunisation Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) in evidence-based decision-making and assist in identifying the data gaps and research needed to support those decisions.

To mobilise the initiative, project partners and Lao PDR’s Ministry of Health are executing a multi-phased approach. Phase 1, which occurred in early to mid-2023, consisted of an in-country scoping visit and co-design project meeting that led to a detailed understanding of Lao PDR’s current NITAG processes and capacity to inform key immunisation decisions, research and priorities. The technical team also built an updated NITAG organisational framework and review process and identified professional development opportunities for NITAG members and other key stakeholders.

Two in-country workshops have now been held. Workshop 1 focused on data for decision-making and evidence to recommendations (EtR), while Workshop 2, in September 2023, focused on NITAG strengthening. 

The next workshop will revolve around health technology assessment (HTA) and supporting the writing of policy briefs – capabilities that will be important for Lao PDR, which is due to transition from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance funding in 2026.

The next workshop will be focusing on vaccine economic training and health financing, for NITAG members, Ministry of Health and the University of Health Sciences Unit for Health Evidence and Policy personnel. Additionally, we are undertaking a writing of policy briefs focusing on case studies applicable to the Gavi transition. We have also partnered with the HITAP in Thailand to provide Health Technology Assessments (HTA) training.

Further updates on the overall results and impacts of the program will be provided in 2024. 

For more information about this project, click here