Global action plan for influenza vaccines

APACI workshop: focusing on healthcare professionals

Awareness of the burden of influenza on public health keeps on rising in the Asia-Pacific region, at the same time healthcare workers continue to be a difficult group to connect with. This was one of the key lessons learned from the 1st Asia Pacific Influenza Summit held in Bangkok in June 2012.

Based on the Summit’s outcomes, the Asia-Pacific Alliance for the Control of Influenza (APACI) hold the inaugural Asia-Pacific workshop on Influenza on 9 October 2013 in Viet Nam. The workshop was intended to provide a forum for clear and consistent communication, creating an environment for effective learning.

Given that APACI promotes best practices for prevention and treatment of influenza in the Asia-Pacific region, this workshop specifically targeted healthcare workers in Viet Nam and aimed to share information on burden of disease, diagnosis and management of influenza, analyse key differences in approaches to pre-pandemic and seasonal influenza prevention and establish collaborative relationships to promote best practices for prevention and treatment of influenza.

The workshop had 3 components: (1) burden of disease, and management of influenza, (2) vaccine strategies, and (3) innovations and new initiatives. The Global Action Plan for Influenza Vaccines (GAP) was featured in the last two sessions. The GAP presentation for the 2nd session focused on the need for national policy coherence in countries like Viet Nam, where local seasonal influenza vaccine production is considered. Under the Innovations session, a plan for regional communication capacity building workshops was presented as an intended follow up to the July 2013 WHO/HHS Atlanta workshop on enhancing communication around influenza vaccination. These regional workshops will address weaknesses in national communication systems by tailoring their programmes to the needs and gaps assessed in each country.