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Collecting and using reliable vaccination coverage survey estimates: Summary and recommendations from the “Meeting to share lessons learnt from the roll-out of the updated WHO Vaccination Coverage Cluster Survey Reference Manual and to set an operational research agenda around vaccination coverage surveys”, Geneva, 18–21 April 2017

Danovaro-Holliday, M. Carolina, Dansereau, Emily, Rhoda, Dale A., Brown, David W., Cutts, Felicity T., Gacic-Dobo, Marta
Vaccine 2018 v.36 no.34 pp. 5150-5159
World Health Organization, attitudes and opinions, caregivers, data collection, decision making, experts, health surveys, household surveys, information management, managers, operations research, stakeholders, vaccination, vaccines
Household surveys are frequently used as means of vaccination coverage measurement, but obtaining accurate survey estimates present several challenges. In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a working draft of its updated Vaccination Coverage Survey Reference Manual that moved well beyond the traditional Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) survey design. In April 2017, WHO convened a four-day meeting, to review lessons learned using the updated manual and to define an agenda for operational research about vaccination coverage surveys. About 70 stakeholders, including EPI managers and participants from 10 countries that have used the updated Survey Manual, survey experts, statisticians, partners, representatives from WHO regional offices and headquarters, and providers of technical assistance discussed methodological issues from sampling to accurately ascertaining a person’s vaccination status, optimizing data collection and data management and conducting appropriate analyses. Participants also discussed data sharing and how to best survey data for immunization decision-making. The lessons learned from the use of the updated WHO Survey Manual related mainly to operational issues to implement better quality vaccination coverage surveys. It resulted in a list of 23 recommendations for WHO, donors and partners, immunization programs, and household surveys that collect immunization data. Similarly, 14 research topics, categorized in six themes (overall survey conduction, sampling, vaccination ascertainment, data collection, data analysis and use, and inclusion of questions on knowledge, attitudes and practices) were prioritized. Top areas of further work included improving our understanding of the accuracy of caregiver recall when documented evidence of vaccination is not available, improving engagement and coordination between immunization programs and entities conducting multi-purpose household surveys such as Demographic and Health Survey and Multiple Cluster Indicator Survey, improving mechanisms for sharing vaccination survey datasets and documentation, and making better use of survey results to translate data into knowledge for decision-making. This manuscript summarizes the meeting proceedings and provides an update of actions taken by WHO since this meeting.