WHO oversees a Memorandum of Understanding between the Task Force for Global Health and the Ministry of Public Health to ensure Influenza vaccine for Lebanon
4 April 2023, Beirut: The Minister of Public Health Dr. Firass Abiad signed today a Memorandum Of Agreement with the Task Force for Global Health represented by PIVI Director Joseph Bresee in the presence of the WHO team represented by Team Lead Dr. Alissar Rady. The MOU marks the start of Lebanon’s eligibility to become a PIVI (Partnership for Influenza Vaccine Introduction) country. It has become one of 24 countries that are benefitting from PIVI eligibility and support.
“After the COVID pandemic, we all learned the importance of being prepared with systems in place, with immunity or vaccines readily available, and so on. But unfortunately, because of the situation in Lebanon and the resourceful environment, the level of preparedness in Lebanon is something we could not have done on our own. That is why this support at this very crucial time is even more and we are very appreciative of the support,” said Dr Firass Abiad.
This support will allow for the availability of influenza vaccines ahead of the flu season every year for the next five years. The essence of the partnership is to provide technical support to the MOPH through a workplan to improve vaccine availability and acceptability as well as to decrease hesitancy and support in generating any kind of information and evidence that will help integrate and sustain the availability of vaccines. This will help generate any kind of evidence to estimate the burden of influenza and relativize the importance of the introduction of this vaccine at the national level.
“The global task force from the health perspective and CDC are committed to a long-term relationship with Lebanon and we agreed that influenza vaccination is a very important tool for pandemic response. We are very excited about this collaboration”, stated Dr. Joseph Bresee.
This partnership is going to be sustained and renewed for the next 3 to 5 years. The memorandum highlights the fact that this is a long-term partnership with the Ministry.
PIVI is donating the vaccines and providing technical support.
WHO role is to provide technical support and expertise in terms of all the technical areas that will come with the agreement which will be funded by PIVI under Taskforce for Global Health through WHO.
The formal partnership comes after intensive discussions involving the Expanded Program for Immunization (EPI) committee, with the chair National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) and other relevant immunization-related parties at the national level.
“This MOU and the support of the Global taskforce and CDC to Lebanon is an important opportunity to strengthen Lebanon capacity to monitor Influenza and foster preparedness to future pandemics. WHO support that started several years ago will continue to further expand national capacity for integration of Influenza vaccine at the level of PHC, and foster preparedness, prevention and response in Lebanon, within the overall National Health sector strategy,” said Dr Alissar Rady.
This important partnership falls under WHO’s objective of working hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Public Health in collaboration with global health entities to ensure regular access to vaccines and other health-related care to citizens.
For further information, please contact
Hala Habib, WHO communication officer, email@example.com, +961 3 870 459