A two day stakeholders conference on Optimising the impact and cost-effectiveness of existing child health intervention programmes for vaccines and micronutrients in low-income countries known as OPTIMUNISE is expected to open in Accra on Friday (25th August 2016).
The two day event will feature high-level speakers and expert presenting and discussing the results of the work on the evaluation of health interventions done by the EU Consortium OPTIMUNISE. The event will also address what research and innovation can do to make the difference in this field under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Other key participants will include policymakers, researchers, health practitioners, research funders, advocates, and NGOs active in low- and middle-income countries.
The project which was initiated in March 2011 and lasted for five years OPTIMUNISE takes advantage of the Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) sites in the INDEPTH Network (www.indepeth-net.org) and was implemented at three INDEPTH sites in Guinea-Bissau (Bandim Health Project), Burkina Faso (Nouna), and Ghana (Navrongo).
These sites created a platform for assessing the overall mortality effect of the major child health interventions – vaccines and vitamin A supplementation.
Child health interventions, particularly vaccines, have been widely disseminated without any prior studies of their overall effect on mortality and morbidity. It has been assumed that if a vaccine prevented a given disease, then the mortality effect could be calculated from the number of deaths due to the disease.
However, accumulating evidence suggest that health interventions also have non-specific effects in addition to the specific effects. Therefore, OPTIMUNISE aimed to test the real life effect on the overall child health of many of the widely used health interventions.
OPTIMUNISE was created with a grant from the EU 7th Framework programme. OPTIMUNISE built on a vaccine network within INDEPTH, which was funded by DANIDA.
Other foundations have funded part of the work, including The Danish National Research Foundation, which funds the Research Center for Vitamins and Vaccines, which includes the Bandim Health Project, and part of the projects under OPTIMUNISE, and Novo Nordisk Foundation
INDEPTH is a global network of Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) sites. Its 43 member centres observe through 49 HDSS field sites the life events of over three millions of people in 20 Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) in Africa, Asia and Oceania.
Since its inception in 1998, the network has gathered a treasure trove of robust data, and is uniquely positioned both to answer the most pressing questions on health, population dynamics and development, and to provide policy-makers and donors with evidence on the impact of interventions.
In a world seeking answers to poverty and underdevelopment, INDEPTH produces the data necessary to study and solve our greatest social problems
Kobby Blay is the chief health editor at Ghanahealthnest.com. A professional practicing nurse with specialty in mental health and focus for health communications, public health, medical/documentary photography, ICT and systems perspective for health improvement.