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Agence de Médecine Préventive Wins the 2014 Gates Vaccine Innovation Award for Improving Immunization Programs in Africa

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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
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PARIS (October 14, 2014) – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced that Agence de Médecine Préventive (AMP) has received the third annual Gates Vaccine Innovation Award in recognition of EPIVAC, an on-the-job training program for district medical officers to improve immunization program performance in 11 Francophone African countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

Aristide Aplogan, MD, director of EPIVAC, and his team’s achievements will be recognized with a shared award of US$250,000, which will be shared among AMP and the eligible individual awardees.

Districts with EPIVAC graduates have significantly higher immunization coverage than those without. Each EPIVAC graduate serves between 30,000-200,000 people, which means EPIVAC trained officers have positively impacted an estimated 6 million lives in 2012.

The program’s unique integrated learning design enables students to spend less time in the classroom and more time in the field applying lessons so they can provide critical health services to their communities. The program culminates with students receiving a master’s degree in economics and public health management in developing countries, or an international master’s degree in applied vaccinology.

“Vaccines protect children for a lifetime from debilitating diseases. By improving health programs at the local level, EPIVAC is helping ensure children receive the life-saving vaccines they need,” said Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Thanks to Agence de Médecine Préventive, graduates from the EPIVAC trainings are making a lasting mark on the health and wellbeing of millions of people across Africa.”

“It is an honor for the EPIVAC team to receive this award,” said Aristide Aplogan, MD, Program Leader, Field Epidemiology &Vaccinology and Director of the EpiVacPlus Program. “At heart, we are a community-based organization, and this award recognizes our commitment to help the people we work with every day access the quality health care that is both a human right and a necessity for living a productive life.”

The Gates Vaccine Innovation Award is recognizing the following individuals for their contributions to the EPIVAC program:

  • Aristide Aplogan, MD, Director
  • Anaïs Colombini, Expert in Health Economics
  • Philippe Jaillard, Expert in Health Logistics
  • Dorothy Leab, Expert in Training Design and Multimedia
  • Daniel Ekra, MD, Expert in Field Epidemiology
  • Philippe Stoeckel, Chairman of AMP
  • Alfred da Silva, MD, Executive Director of AMP
  • Marcel Drach, Director of Paris-Dauphine University’s Master’s in Economics and Public Health Management

AMP developed EPIVAC in 2002, in partnership with governments of low-income countries, the World Health Organization (WHO); UNICEF; Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; universities; and others working in Africa. EPIVAC was made possible with an unrestricted grant from Sanofi Pasteur and financial contributions from the European Union ARIVA-Project and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Since 2002, it has been directed by Aplogan, who led the program development process and now leads the expanded program, called EpiVacPlus. More than 500 trainees have received master’s degrees through the program.

The Gates Vaccine Innovation Award celebrates revolutionary ways in which children in the poorest parts of the world receive life-saving vaccines. The award is bestowed on an individual or organization nominated by the public that has made a uniquely innovative contribution to the Decade of Vaccines, in the hope of shining a light on the most powerful innovations in global health. Nominees are assessed on the tangible health impact, creativity, and scale of their innovation in the science, delivery, or funding of vaccines.

About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

About Agence de Médecine Préventive
Founded in 1972, the Agence de Médecine Préventive (AMP) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting preventive medicine and public health worldwide. Along with its public- and private-sector partners, AMP aims to:

  • Enhance scientific knowledge in support of evidence-based health policies
  • Support the introduction and use of vaccines
  • Strengthen immunization service delivery and logistics
  • Develop human and institutional capacity through tailor-made training programs
  • Promote innovation in field vaccinology

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Editor’s Notes

The Gates Vaccine Innovation Award is recognizing the following individuals for their contributions to the EPIVAC program:

Aristide Aplogan, MD: Director
Dr. Aplogan led the program development process, contributing to the design, curriculum development, partner identification and surveillance, and expansion of the program development and ensuring synergies with other existing projects

Anaïs Colombini: Expert in Health Economics (2002-2012)
Ms. Colombini contributed to program development, participating in initial discussions as well as contributing to the idea for eTutoring. She gave classes on health economics, validated student research theses, and provided technical support.

Philippe Jaillard: Expert in Health Logistics for EPIVAC® (2002-2012)
Mr. Jaillard contributed to program development and worked with countries to address the managerial and logistical challenges of the vaccine supply chain, gave courses on logistics and management issues, and validated student research theses.

Dorothy Leab: Expert in Training Design and Multimedia for EPIVAC® (2002-2010)
Ms. Leab contributed to the situation analyses led by AMP in West and Central Africa as part of other training programs that informed the EPIVAC® framework. 

Daniel Ekra, MD: Expert in Field Epidemiology for EPIVAC® (2002-2012)
Dr. Ekra contributed to program development including the tutoring approach and as the representative of the University of Cocody-Abidjan, he coordinated the vaccinology training component.
 
Philippe Stoeckel: Chairman of AMP
Mr. Stoeckel conceived of the basic idea of EPIVAC®, a program to strengthen the capacity of key health actors at district level through tailor-made training.

Alfred da Silva, MD: Executive Director of AMP
Dr. da Silva contributed to program development, particularly the supportive supervision model and definition of the training program strategy. From inception to the present day, he has provided day-to-day management of partner relationships, mobilized financial resources, and provided strategic input on program development.

Marcel Drach: Director of Paris-Dauphine University’s Master’s in Economics and Public Health Management in Developing Countries
Prof. Marcel Drach contributed to program development, especially training content regarding health services management, and was key in the development of the strategic partnership with Paris-Dauphine University.

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