National immunisation programmes
Immunisation represents one of the most cost-effective means to improve the health and well-being of populations and contribute to sustainable development. Since the inception of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) in 1974, considerable gains have been made in improving access to vaccination in all countries. However, the full potential of vaccination is yet to be tapped.
Health system weaknesses have prevented universal access to vaccination and are a limitation for sustainable use of the increasing array of new vaccines. Fortunately, solutions exist and opportunities are available to strengthen immunisation systems and to implement strategies to achieve the vision of universal access to vaccines. National immunisation programmes are responsible for the management of immunisation at the country level and cover a range of functions from establishing evidence-based policies to financing and procurement of vaccines, vaccine management and logistics, delivery of vaccination services and collection, as well as analysis and use of immunisation data. Well-functioning immunisation programmes that deliver high-quality services using tailored strategies to meet the needs of different population groups can reap the health benefits of high and equitable coverage with vaccines.