The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced Agence de Médecine Préventive as the winner of the 2014 Gates Vaccine Innovation Award for its efforts to improve immunization programs in eleven African countries.
Paris-based AMP was awarded the third annual $250,000 prize in recognition of its EPIVAC initiative, an on-the-job training program for district medical officers aimed at improving the performance of immunization programs in the Francophone nations of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Togo. Districts where EPIVAC graduates work have significantly higher immunization coverage than those without, and with each EPIVAC graduate serving between thirty thousand and two hundred thousand people, the program benefits an estimated six million people annually.
Developed in 2002 in partnership with governments of low-income countries, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, GAVI Alliance, and a number of universities, the program's integrated learning design enables students, who graduate with a master's degree in applied vaccinology or economics and public health management, to spend less time in the classroom and more time in the field providing critical health services.
"It is an honor for the EPIVAC team to receive this award," said Aristide Aplogan, program leader of field epidemiology and vaccinology and director of the EpiVacPlus program. "At heart, we are a community-based organization, and this award recognizes our commitment to help the people we work with every day access the quality health care that is both a human right and a necessity for living a productive life."