PARIS, January 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The inaugural meeting of the Mongolian National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) was held at the Ministry of Health in Ulaanbaatar on December 6, 2010.

The NITAG is the first of its kind in Mongolia and was established based on recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO). The committee's role is to advise the Ministry of Health on all issues related to immunization and vaccines such as the choice of vaccines to introduce, schedules, quality and safety, and delivery systems.

The NITAG was approved by a ministerial decree issued in August 2010 defining terms of reference and procedural guidelines.

The SIVAC (Supporting Independent Immunization and Vaccine Advisory Committees) Initiative, implemented by the Agence de Médecine Préventive (AMP) in partnership with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), played an important role in the creation of the NITAG. SIVAC, along with WHO and the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO), provided technical support to the Mongolian Ministry of Health in establishing committee structure, roles, and responsibilities.

The first meeting of the Mongolian NITAG aimed to revise technical guidelines and to clarify membership issues. The meeting was chaired by the Vice Minister of Health, Dr. Jadamba Tsolmon, and brought together 10 newly elected NITAG members. Among other things, it was decided that the National Center for Communicable Diseases will serve as the secretariat and that the committee will consist of 11 core (voting) members and 9 non-voting members. Members also agreed to hold four meetings in 2011 and to develop a detailed work plan.

"This NITAG is a very important step towards country ownership of important health issues," said Dr. Philippe Stoeckel, chairman of AMP. "It will enable health authorities to formulate immunization policies and strategies according to Mongolia's specific needs. We hope it will lead to the creation of similar committees in other countries."

The Mongolian NITAG is the second to be established with support from the SIVAC Initiative. The first was launched in Côte d'Ivoire in January 2010.

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