TechNet-21 - Forum

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Post00305 THE FUTURE OF TECHNET 14 December 2000 CONTENTS 1. FUTURE OF TECHNET - SOME THOUGHTS 2. TECHNET SURVEY 3. FUTURE OF TECHNET: TECHNET 21 ___________________________________________________________________________ Moderators Note The three pieces posted in todays Technet Forum were prepared and written by Julie Milstien, Coordinator, Access to Technologies Team, Vaccines and Biologicals Department, at WHO Headquarters in Geneva. Julie is responsible for the ATT team - the institutional home of the Technet Secretariat. Our thanks to all who participated in the recent survey and to Julie for the analysis of the responses presented in item 2, below. In item 3. The Future Of Technet, A summary of a brainstorming meeting on the future of Technet held on 1 December is presented. Consensus was reached on the following: * Given the existence of SIGN and of GAVI, and the many changes in logistics hardware over the past years, the raison d'ê´²e of Technet has changed. Technet played a key role in breaking dogmas regarding safety of injections, VVM and new cold chain strategies. The future is now in implementing and further developing these new approaches. * The crying need now is strengthening of immunization management, both programme management and operations management, and to involve immunization managers in developing and testing strategies and policies to achieve this. * It is proposed to reinvent Technet under the provisional name Technet 21 to reflect this focus. This could be launched at the proposed September meeting, to be held back to back with SIGN in India, and to which some immunization managers in developing countries would be specifically invited. * WHO should reassert its role as secretariat and use Technet 21 as a sounding board for policies related to immunization service strengthening within the context of health systems. Technet 21 will aim to reach more developing country managers, including those at subnational and district levels, WHO and UNICEF country staff, plus the traditional Technet logistics members. Contributions to: [email=technet@acithn.uq.edu.au]technet@acithn.uq.edu.au[/email] or use your reply button! ____________________________________*______________________________________ 1. FUTURE OF TECHNET - SOME THOUGHTS ___________________________________________________________________________ Future of Technet - some thoughts Technet was set up several years ago to loosely link experts and partner- supporting organizations working in logistics for health. Much of its focus has been on the management and operational logistics of national immunization programmes and the integration of other logistics elements into primary health service delivery in developing countries. The Technet forum began on 1 February 1998 as a communications initiative by the Technet Secretariat, based in GPV WHO and BASICS. Since that time, it has built participation to 412 subscribers, over 60 of whom were interested enough in the Forum to respond to an email questionnaire. A preliminary compilation of responses to the questionnaire is attached. Since that time, much has changed in the immunization world. The staff of the Technet Secretariat in WHO have moved on, and the department has been reorganized. The Safe Injection Global Network (SIGN) has been developed to consider many of the issues formerly considered by Technet. The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization has been formed, including many of the same partners represented in Technet and SIGN. And WHO (the Department of Vaccines and Biologicals) has launched a new priority project on Strengthening Immunization Services, a major focus of which will be improving management of immunization services, including management in the areas of vaccine supply and distribution and programme logistics. As a first step to facilitate discussion for the 1 December meeting, I propose, after some discussions with others and much consideration, the following major functions for Technet: 1. A network to ensure availability of experts in immunization service delivery, through the posting of needs on the Technet Forum, and through a validated database of experts kept at the secretariat. 2. A mechanism for generation of ideas on how to improve immunization services at the national level, working with GAVI and its partners, and with countries and regional working groups. 3. A reality check on policy and technology options proposed by WHO and other GAVI partner organizations, bringing a field perspective to these proposals. I believe this broadening and simultaneous narrowing of Technet functions could better reflect the needs in the post-GAVI era. I would be grateful for your views. We have just recontracted for the Technet Forum for another year, and are proposing the Technet meeting be held this year (approximately mid-year) in a SEAR country. Dr Hutin advises me that SIGN is scheduled to meet in India in the second half of 2001, and suggests a joint meeting, which seems to me to be an idea worth considering. ____________________________________*______________________________________ 2. TECHNET SURVEY ___________________________________________________________________________ Technet Survey I have reviewed 59 responses so far. Here is a nonscientific compilation of the results : Question 1. We (meaning the " secretariat " in WHO) see Technet's role in 2 main areas : 1. Defining and implementing the technical agenda for the logistics of immunization programmes and for primary health programmes generally ; 2. Building and maintaining a network of expertise for dissemination and exchange of technical information and discussion of policies, products, activities and ideas. Do you agree with this? Yes 53 No 2 Comments: - role should be more focused, not include primary health - role should be broadened, to include third world rural settings, drugs, micronutrients - Technet should choose between technical inputs or policy - Technet cannot make policy - Technet should identify implications of policies - Technet is a network not an implementing body - roles could include tracking new technologies, promote the importance of logistics, define training needs, solve specific problems - and there needs to be more technical expertise at WHO Question 2. We see two possible ways to develop a framework for Technet. Which do you prefer? 1. Building on priorities and recommendations from previous meetings 2. Coalescing around implementation of specific initiatives Any other suggestions? Build on priorities27 Coalesce around specific. 20 Both 9 Comments: - be more inclusive - better set priorities - be proactive - keep an updated CV list of experts - develop a reference bibliography - be more pragmatic - consider GAVI, measles eradication, infection control Question 3. We see as a major need the identification of new experts in immunization management, communications, and infection control (injection safety). Can you provide us with names and coordinates of at least one expert immediately? (The purpose of this question was NOT to get names of experts, but to test Technet's responsiveness as a network of technical experts.) Yes 23 - fewer than one-half of this network of experts could recommend an expert! Question 4. Which of the following options do you prefer for the Technet Forum? 1. Continue as it is with no change 2. Discontinue 3. Continue but change in the following way Continue 36 Discontinue 0 Continue but change 20 SUGGESTED CHANGES: - format change to make it easier and faster to read: executive summary, indexed contents, one subject per posting, put on Website, structure along priority areas - subjects to cover epidemiology and measles control, a wider range, field level implementation, drugs and contraceptives, medical waste, promotion of importance of logistics and management, GAVI - WHO should use it more - Technet Forum should have more independence - include specific requests for feedback - more focused, less opinion, more facts CONCLUSIONS: 1. Technet plays a useful role; however there is some division on what that role should be. That it is, or should be, a network has some support, but it appears not to be serving as a useful source of experts or of information. 2. Technet's role should probably not be policy development, but should be more pragmatic. 3. There was lack of agreement as to whether Technet should focus its subject range or broaden it, nor was there agreement as to whether Technet should just continue more or less the same way or take on a few focused initiatives. 4. Technet Forum should be continued, but we should think about how to make it most useful and more efficient. 5. There is apparently some dissatisfaction with WHO's lack of technical leadership in this area, as well as with WHO's relationship to Technet. I agree with these comments, and promise we will try to use Technet and Technet Forum more extensively in future. ____________________________________*______________________________________ 3. FUTURE OF TECHNET: TECHNET 21 ___________________________________________________________________________ Future of Technet Brainstorming group in Geneva on 1 December, 2000: John Lloyd, Michel Zaffran, Hans Everts, Philippe Duclos, Gordon Larsen, Jens Pake, Tom O'Connell, Julie Milstien (earlier discussions with Yvan Hutin, who could not join, were reported) Julie began by summarizing the Technet Survey results, and a "straw woman" generated after discussions with Yvan. Then discussion was thrown open. Consensus was reached on the following: * Given the existence of SIGN and of GAVI, and the many changes in logistics hardware over the past years, the raison d'ê´²e of Technet has changed. Technet played a key role in breaking dogmas regarding safety of injections, VVM and new cold chain strategies. The future is now in implementing and further developing these new approaches. * The crying need now is strengthening of immunization management, both programme management and operations management, and to involve immunization managers in developing and testing strategies and policies to achieve this. * It is proposed to reinvent Technet under the provisional name Technet 21 to reflect this focus. This could be launched at the proposed September meeting, to be held back to back with SIGN in India, and to which some immunization managers in developing countries would be specifically invited. * WHO should reassert its role as secretariat and use Technet 21 as a sounding board for policies related to immunization service strengthening within the context of health systems. Technet 21 will aim to reach more developing country managers, including those at subnational and district levels, WHO and UNICEF country staff, plus the traditional Technet logistics members.


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