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Immunisation expert to advise global NGO

Immunisation expert to advise global NGO

A New Zealand immunisation expert has been invited to join the World Health Organisation’s strategic advisory group on immunisation.

Director of the University of Auckland- based Immunisation Advisory Centre, Associate Professor Dr Nikki Turner, will serve a three year term with the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE).

The invitation from WHO is seen as acknowledgement of her expertise and research on immunisation.

SAGE (based in Geneva), has responsibility to advise WHO on overall global policies and strategies, ranging from vaccines and technology, research and development, to the delivery of immunisation and its linkages with other health interventions.

Dr Turner is a General Practitioner in Wellington, an honorary academic at the University of Auckland (in General Practice and Primary Care), and a researcher and advocate for immunisation.

She is also committed to reducing equity gaps in children’s health who sees immunisation as an important component in achieving this, and is an executive member and health spokesperson for the Child Poverty Action Group.

Her duties will include SAGE meetings at WHO headquarters in Geneva, as well as involvement in international subcommittees and regular communication with the Western Pacific WHO region, based in Manila.

“I am very privileged to be offered this position,” says Dr Turner. “Immunisation is a major international issue with potential to further significantly reduce deaths and illnesses with better vaccine delivery with our current vaccines and the use of important new vaccines.”

“To be able to participate in such a committee to support better outcomes for populations and particularly children internationally is really an honour, she says. “I hope it will also be useful to be able to bring new knowledge and expertise back to New Zealand and learn from it, to support vaccination strategies here.”

Dr Turner has developed and evolved the New Zealand Immunisation Advisory Centre (since its inception in 1996), into a national communication ,coordination, education and research centre.

She also has ongoing involvement with short term international consultancies with the World Health Organisation and other NGOs around immunisation and child health.

The Immunisation Advisory Centre based within the School of Population Health, provides advice and education on all things immunisation-related. IMAC also has an extensive research programme covering everything from vaccine effectiveness to improving service delivery in the Primary Care setting.

Dr Turner is also Director of CONECTUS child health services, (also based at the University of Auckland), and is completing her Doctorate in Medicine on the improvement of immunisation coverage in New Zealand.

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