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OptiMVacc-SA Stakeholder Meeting: Optimizing Maternal Vaccination in South Africa

10 June 2024

On 10 June 2024, an event was held at Wits RHI as the Maternal and Child Health team, led by Prof. Lee Fairlie, and the Implementation Science team, under the leadership of Prof. Saiqa Mullick, hosted a pivotal stakeholder meeting. The main focus of this workshop was to gather stakeholders under the CDC-funded OptiMVacc-SA (Optimizing Maternal Vaccinations in South Africa) project, an initiative aimed at evaluating and enhancing the delivery of maternal vaccines in the country.

The OptiMVacc-SA Project Team (left to right): Dr. Mrinmayee Dhar, Dr. Catherine Martin, Prof. Lee Fairlie, and Prof. Saiqa Mullick, with National Department of Health representative Dr. Lesley Bamford in the centre

OptiMVacc-SA is designed to evaluate the current state of maternal vaccine delivery, identify strengths and challenges within existing systems, and formulate recommendations to strengthen health systems. This comprehensive approach aims to optimise the delivery of current maternal vaccines while preparing health systems for the potential introduction of new vaccines in the future.

OptiMVacc-SA will be working closely with various stakeholders, including the South African National Department of Health, healthcare workers, policymakers, programme managers, academics/researchers, end-users and communities in urban, peri-urban, and rural settings. This collaborative effort aims to facilitate data gathering, rigorous analysis, and the development of actionable recommendations to improve maternal vaccine delivery.

Workshop stakeholders

 

Stakeholder participation in this meeting included representatives from the National Department of Health, WHO, Gauteng and Eastern Cape Department of Health, University of Cape Town (UCT), Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Wits VIDA, PDG, GIZ, HST, Reach Digital Health, APHA and the Northern Hope Foundation.

The meeting featured insightful presentations and discussions led by experts in the field: Dr. Lesley Bamford from the National Department of Health, presented the current rollout of maternal vaccines and future plans. Dr. Mrinmayee Dhar, Project Co-Lead, provided an overview of the OptiMVacc-SA project. Dr. Ushma Mehta(UCT) introduced planned work on maternal immunization surveillance under the SURMISE study. Olivia Meiners Spring from Afton Bloom and Dr. Catherine Martin, Project Co-Lead, presented the landscape review and preliminary findings of the value chain situation analysis for maternal immunisation in South Africa. Prof. Michelle Groome discussed new maternal vaccines, with insights from a clinical trial perspective. Prof. Lee Fairlie explored opportunities for maternal vaccine surveillance, focussing on work done through the Ubomi Buhle Pregnancy Exposure Registry project. Sr. Esther Mabanga from the Department of Health, delved into facility-level strengths and challenges in the maternal vaccination programme.

The session also included focused discussions on research gaps, data needs, and implementation strategies in breakout groups. The meeting provided a platform for collaborative discussions, and sharing of valuable insights, aimed at enhancing maternal vaccination programmes across South Africa. The collective efforts showcased a commitment to advancing maternal health through vaccination, highlighting the critical role of partnerships and evidence-based interventions in driving positive public health outcomes.

 

 

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