External Panel of Experts (EPE)

The ARISE External Panel of Experts for Routine Immunization System Strengthening (EPE-SS) serves as an external reference group for Objectives 1-3 of the project. The EPE-SS is charged with accomplishing: a) validation of evaluation framework and strategic approaches; b) identification of, and access to, candidate experiences for project review; c) stakeholder engagement to increase the ability of the project to carry out its work; and d) the presentation and positioning of findings, evidence-base, and recommendations to promote their eventual uptake.

The purpose of the External Panel of Experts for Routine Immunization System Innovation (EPE-SI) is to serve as an external learning group of practitioners as well as a reference group to focus on how to articulate a changed model for RI systems focused on the ability of countries and districts to achieve and sustain high levels of RI coverage and go beyond already high levels of system performance.

EPE/System Strengthening

Mercy Ahun, MD, MA, has been the managing director of the Programme Delivery department at the GAVI Alliance Secretariat in Geneva since 2003. She has oversight responsibility for supporting GAVI-eligible countries to implement the introduction of new and under-used vaccines and strengthen their health systems with involvement of all stakeholders, including civil society organizations. She has coordinated various GAVI work streams including the Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) study, which led to the creation of the Hib Initiative and subsequent rapid uptake of Hib vaccines by GAVI-eligible countries. Prior to her work with GAVI, Dr. Ahun worked at various levels of the health system in her native Ghana including managing the national immunization programme. She worked with the Inter-Agency Coordination Committee, (a multi partner coordination body of multilaterals and bi-laterals, civil society groups and government agencies), to apply and successfully introduce the pentavalent vaccine. The country was able to draft a financial sustainability plan and was the first GAVI eligible country to start co financing the new vaccine. Dr. Ahun has extensive field experience, including work with other health programs including malaria, nutrition, and reproductive health to provide population-based services to communities. She has worked with others on innovative approaches to increase coverage and reach hard to reach communities in both urban and rural areas.

Felicity Cutts, MB.ChB, MSc, MD, is an infectious disease epidemiologist with 30 years of experience in international health. She spent ten years working in primary health care and immunization programs in Asia and Africa. Her research interests have spanned operational research to improve the coverage and quality of immunization programs, development of methods to monitor immunization impact (including sero-epidemiology of vaccine preventable diseases), and phase II and III vaccine trials of measles, pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines. She spent 11 years at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where she has an honorary professorship, and has also worked in the immunization departments at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization, Geneva. Since 2007, she has been an independent consultant, based in France.

Richard Mihigo, MD, MPH, a national from Rwanda, is the winner of the 2003 John Snow, Inc. Award for Excellence in International Health and finalist of the 2003 Rex Fendall Award for Excellence in Writing (Boston University School of Public Health, International Health Department). From 1994 to 2003, he worked at various levels in the health system in his native country including managing the national immunization program. The Rwanda EPI is one of the strongest programs in the African Region and has been able to sustain immunization DPT3 coverage above 90% for the last ten years. Dr Mihigo coordinated the successful introduction of HepB and Hib vaccines in 2002. In January 2004 for a period of six months, he was the Permanent Secretary of the country coordinating mechanisms of the GFATM in Rwanda and has also worked in the past for WHO and UNICEF and as an independent consultant for WHO, UNICEF, USAID, and the GFATM. He was involved in the multi-country RED approach evaluation in 2007 and led the multi-partners team in 2008 that revised the RED guidelines and developed new RED monitoring tools. Dr. Mihigo is currently Regional Advisor in the Immunization, Vaccines Development program at the WHO Regional Office for Africa (AFRO) in Brazzaville, Congo. He is responsible for providing technical support and expertise to Member States in the African Region in planning, monitoring, and evaluation of routine immunization programs and new vaccines introduction, as well as developing policies, norms, and standards for immunization programs. Part of his responsibilities includes supporting Member States in establishing and strengthening partnership coordination mechanisms at country and inter-country levels and resource mobilization in support of immunization programs in the African Region.

David Peters, MD, MPH, DrPH, has worked in health systems as a researcher, policy advisor, educator, bureaucrat, manager, and clinician in more than 20 developing countries over the last two decades. Dr. Peters’ work addresses the performance of health systems, poverty and health systems, and innovations in organization, technology, and financing of health systems, the role of the private sector, human resource management, and ways to use donor assistance to strengthen local capacity in low-income countries. He is the Director of Future Health Systems: Innovations for Equity, a consortium of researchers from Uganda, Nigeria, India, China, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, the UK, and the USA, which is aimed at generating knowledge to shape health systems to benefit the poor. He has provided technical assistance to governments in Bangladesh, India, Nigeria, and development agencies (WHO, World Bank, CIDA, DFID, and USAID), and was a member of the technical review panel for the GFATM from 2002–2006. At the World Bank, he led the analytic and policy work on health services in low and middle income countries, conducted the largest country health study of the World Bank in India, oversaw assistance and led the policy dialogue in health, nutrition, and population with senior government officials, technical and donor agencies, and civic organizations in several countries in Africa and Asia. He was a pioneer in the development of Sector Wide Approaches (SWAps) in health. Dr. Peters is currently director of the Health Systems Program in the Department of International Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He oversees a multi-disciplinary group of faculty, staff and graduate students in learning, research, and service in the field of health systems in developing countries, and published over 60 scientific articles and books.

Jos Vandelaer, MD, MPH, has been the chief of immunization at UNICEF since November 2009. Prior to that he served for over eight years as UNICEF/WHO Senior Program Officer, was responsible for technical advice on strategies related to maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination and worked on routine immunization, Global Immunization Vision and Strategy (GIVS), and approaches on Reaching Every District with immunization. A Belgian national, Dr. Vandelaer started his career with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in emergency missions in Sierra Leone, Kenya/South Sudan, and Suriname in 1986-1987. He then worked two years with MSF in a refugee camp in Northern Thailand (1987-1989) as medical coordinator and doctor. From 1989 to 1992, he worked with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) as head of the medical section in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), responsible for the medical screening of 120,000 candidate-emigrants from Vietnam annually. He worked in 1993-1994 for IOM in war-torn Croatia and Bosnia, coordinating placements of medical evacuees from both countries. In 1994-1995 he worked one year with UNHCR on the Bangla-Myanmar border in Myanmar, as health advisor in a return program for Burmese refugees. In 1996, he joined the EPI team in WHO/WPRO in Manila (Philippines) as medical officer, and transferred a year later to EPI in WHO/SEARO Delhi (India), where he worked as medical officer in immunization until 1999. Between 1991 and 2001, he was WHO Medical Officer in Yangon, Myanmar, focusing on polio eradication and routine immunization. Dr. Vandelaer holds an MD degree from the Leuven University in Belgium, a diploma in Tropical Medicine from the Prince Leopold Institute for Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, and a Masters of Public Health from Harvard University, US.

Rachel Feilden serves on both the EPE/SS and EPE/SI. A brief description of her qualifications can be found under EPE/SI below.

EPE/System Innovation

Bjorn Melgaard, MD, MPH, a freelance consultant, is the retired, former Director of Program Management at the WHO¹s Southeast Asia Regional Health Office (SEARO). In this capacity he served as the principal adviser on policy, technical programs, and management matters. He assisted the Regional Director in the establishment of an effective framework for policy, program formulation, and implementation, as well as high-level managerial functions. He was also responsible for the efficient and effective development, implementation, and evaluation of the collaborative programs of WHO in the region. Dr. Melgaard graduated from the University of Copenhagen in 1971 and holds a Doctorate in Medicine from the same university. He has in-depth experience in the development of global policy and strategy in immunization and health systems development, both at the national and international levels with particular emphasis on developing countries. Dr. Melgaard was the WHO Representative (WR) to Thailand (2001–March 2004), and the WHO liaison to ESCAP. As WR he also coordinated WHO activities with respect to the Mekong sub-region collaborative programs. Dr Melgaard joined WHO in 1995 as Chief of the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI). Later he became Director of the Department of Vaccines and Biologicals. Prior to joining WHO he worked for the Danish Development Agency (DANIDA) for ten years in various senior managerial positions in Kenya, Tanzania and Bhutan.

Marty Makinen, PhD, is the Results for Development Institute’s Program Director for the Health Workforce and Ministerial Leadership Initiative. He is a health economist with more than 30 years of experience working with health financing and economics issues in developing countries. He spent 23 years at Abt Associates Inc. where he directed the USAID-funded global Health Systems 20/20, Partners for Health Reform Plus, and Health Financing and Sustainability projects, and has held academic positions at the Universities of Delaware and Michigan. Dr. Makinen has worked with more than 40 developing countries on health issues in all regions of the world, with specific emphasis on Francophone Africa and South Asia. He serves on the Monitoring Independent Review Committee for the Global Alliance on Vaccines and Immunization. He is a native speaker of English and speaks fluent French. Dr. Makinen has numerous publications and speaks frequently at professional meetings. He holds a PhD (1979) and Master’s (1975) in economics from the University of Michigan and a B.A. (1973) in economics from Kalamazoo College.

Professor Mashako Leonard, MD, has been serving as the Minister of High Education and University in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He is a pediatrician by training and was appointed Minister of Health in DR Congo from 1999–2003. While serving as Minister of Health, Dr. Mashako was a leader in the National Immunization Interagency Coordinating Committee. He also served as Dean of the Medical School at the University of Kinshasa. From 1998–1999 he served as Coordinator of National Immunization Days for polio in early Polio Eradication activities in DR Congo.

Professor Nick Tilley is an Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Nottingham Trent University, where he served as director of the Policy Oriented Social Sciences Research Group until the end of 2007. He is now based at University College London, where he is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Security and Crime Science. He was seconded to the British Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate from 1992 to 2003. He is author or editor of twelve books, including Realistic Evaluation (with Ray Pawson, Sage 1997), and Problem-Oriented Policing and Partnerships: Implementing an Evidence Based Approach to Crime Reduction (with Karen Bullock and Rosie Erol, Willan 2006). He is a past president of the UK Evaluation Society. He was awarded an OBE for services to Policing and Crime Reduction in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2005 and elected to the British Academy of Social Sciences (AcSS) in 2009. Professor Tilley provides the ARISE EPE with deep knowledge and experience in the use of realist evaluation and application of this method to new settings.

Nana Twum-Danso, MD, MPH, is the Director of Project Fives Alive!, a partnership between the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and the National Catholic Health Service of Ghana (NCHS) to accelerate the achievement of the fourth Millennium Development Goal in Ghana. In this role, Dr. Twum-Danso provides technical and strategic leadership in quality improvement work to improve maternal and child health services at scale within the NCHS and the Ghana Health Service, the largest health care provider in Ghana. Prior to joining IHI in 2008, Dr. Twum-Danso worked for the Task Force for Child Survival and Development in Atlanta, Georgia for almost seven years as an Associate Director, and later as Director of a public-private partnership to control soil-transmitted helminth infections in children in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Dr. Twum-Danso has more than 10 years of experience in public health program planning, management, policy development, monitoring and research with a focus on quality improvement in health, health systems strengthening, community-based healthcare delivery, health promotion, emergency preparedness, and road traffic safety. Dr. Twum-Danso holds a bachelor’s degree in Biochemical Sciences and a medical degree, both from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She also has a master’s degree in public health with specialization in Health Policy and Management from Emory University in Atlanta. Dr. Twum-Danso is board-certified by the American College of Preventive Medicine, and is a member of the American Society of Tropical Medicine.

M. Rashad Massoud, MD, MPH, FACP, an internationally recognized leader in improving health care, is Senior Vice President for the Quality and Performance Institute at University Research Co. LLC. (URC), in Bethesda, Maryland, and Director of the USAID Health Care Improvement Project (HCI), currently active in 25 countries. Dr. Massoud served as Senior Vice President at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, overseeing IHI’s Strategic Partnerships – the key customers working with IHI on innovation, transformation, and large scale spread. He previously led, at URC, several large improvement efforts including work toward the development of the WHO strategy for design and scale-up of antiretroviral therapy to meet the 3×5 target and large scale improvement in the Russian Federation. For several years he led the Palestinian health care quality improvement effort. He was a founding member and chaired the multi-country Quality Management Program for Health Care Organizations in the Middle East and North Africa (QMP-MENA). He worked as a Medical Officer with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. He has also consulted for and collaborated with several NGOs, KPMG, UNICEF, the World Bank, USAID, and WHO.

Rachel Feilden, MPA, is an English national who took her first degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics and completed an apprenticeship at Mathematica Policy Research, where she learned about surveys, sampling, collecting and cleaning data then analyzing it and presenting findings about primary care doctors’ practices. After a two-year Master’s degree in Public Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School, Ms. Feilden joined Management Sciences for Health, and worked short-term in Haiti, Honduras, Portugal, Morocco, and Yemen. In 1983, she became a resident adviser on the Tihama Primary Health Care Project in Hodeida, Yemen and was deeply involved in introducing routine immunization to villages which had never had a regular service. In 1985, Ms. Feilden left Yemen and became freelance, working on an evaluation of two area health projects in India. Subsequently, she has worked mainly on immunization in Eastern and Southern Africa, Romania, Central Asia, Nepal, the Middle East, and most recently in Nigeria. This work has included EPI reviews, assessments, evaluations; cost-effectiveness analysis; updating policies, guidelines and standards; making health reforms work for immunization; and designing a project approach for reviving routine immunization. Ms. Feilden also serves on the ARISE EPE for System Strengthening.