Australian Regional Immunisation Alliance – Regional Immunisation Support and Engagement - ARIA-RISE

Australian Regional Immunisation Alliance

Theme:

Disease Surveillance and Modelling

Where:

Papua New Guinea, Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste

What will the project achieve:

Vaccines are one of the most cost-effective means to prevent death and disability, improve public health and economic prosperity. However, outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases such as diphtheria, measles and polio in the Pacific highlight the low levels of routine immunisation coverage that have existed over many years. ARIA-RISE will improve immunisation coverage and surveillance in target countries in the region through implemented of activities and provision of expert advice.

How the project will do it:

ARIA is a member-based alliance of experts with a range of skills and experience in immunisation and vaccine preventable disease-related work in our region. ARIA-RISE provides countries with access to the expertise of ARIA members. ARIA members have existing projects and working relationships with Ministries of Health and other implementation partners across the Pacific, as well as strong established connections with WHO, the Pacific Community, UNICEF, Gavi, Asian Development Bank and others.

This project has three components:

Country-specific assessment of immunisation coverage strengthening needs

Within the first six months in-depth assessments will be conducted in each of the three target countries (PNG, Timor-Leste and the Solomon Islands) and for other Pacific Island countries (PICs) as a collective. The assessments will review the causes of low coverage and the drivers for successful immunisation improvements to identify opportunities to maximise the strengthening of routine immunisation programs.

Implement selected tailored improvement activities at national/sub-national levels

The in-depth country-specific assessments and stakeholder consultations will inform a schedule of improvement activities. ARIA-RISE will carry out at least one activity in PNG, Timor-Leste, Solomon Islands and potentially other PICs. Examples of activities may include: supporting strategic decision-making, service and planning activities, and addressing behavioural and social drivers of uptake.

Development of an ARIA Support Hub to provide on-demand support

The ARIA Support Hub will provide on-demand technical advice from its members to respond to incidents and concerns from requesting target countries and broader sub-regional and regional key stakeholders. For example, ARIA members can be available to provide expert advice on vaccine risk communication and vaccination-specific community engagement.

How the project has responded to COVID-19:

On-demand support from ARIA-RISE will be available to help with planning for the possible roll-out of a vaccine for COVID-19.

For example, in Timor-Leste, ARIA is conducting seroprevalence surveillance for COVID−19 and targeted vaccine-preventable diseases (measles, rubella and hepatitis B). The seroprevalence surveillance will build in-country research capacity and the results will help to inform potential immunisation strategies in Timor-Leste, including for a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

Lead implementing partner:

National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS)

Partners:

  • University of Sydney
  • Governments of Pacific Island Countries, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste
  • World Health Organization
  • UNICEF
  • Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

Funding:

$2,900,000

For more information:

Kristine Macartney, University of Sydney

Australian Regional Immunisation Alliance website