The French agency Agence de Médecine Préventive (AMP) announced the appointment of Dr. Kamel Senouci as programme director for the SIVAC (Supporting Independent Immunization and Vaccine Advisory Committees) initiative.

This programme aims at contributing to the development of national immunization technical advisory groups in six resource poor countries in Africa and six in Asia. These committees will help national health authorities to set up vaccination policy and programs adapted to their needs and to introduce new vaccines. The project, funded by a 10 million dollar grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will be conducted in partnership with the International Vaccine Institute (Seoul, Korea), and in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) and its regional and national offices.

Dr Senouci is a medical doctor and public health specialist who graduated in medicine, epidemiology and public health at the Universities of Lille and Paris (France), and in Health Policy, Planning, and Financing at the London School of Economics and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Dr Senouci worked within the French Ministry of Health, contributing to the implementation of new public health laws. Most recently he worked at WHO Lyon office (International Health Regulation) and at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in the Communicable Disease Unit.

"Supporting the establishment and strengthening of national immunization technical advisory groups is one of WHO's priority" said Dr Philippe Duclos, senior health adviser – Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals at WHO, Geneva. "This is part of the process to ensure evidence-based decision-making at country level, which is particularly needed in view of the complexity of the immunization programs and cost of new vaccines".

Dr Senouci will take his position at AMP in Paris on December 1, 2008. He will oversee the entire initiative and have primary responsibility for its implementation in Africa while also overseeing the Asia activities implemented by IVI. He will report to Dr. Brad Gessner, SIVAC Principal Investigator (PI) & AMP Scientific Director.

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