WHO Immunization Monitoring Academy information

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This web page contains information about the WHO Immunization Monitoring Academy (IMA) and the Level 1 certification course.

Table of contents


The WHO Immunization Monitoring Academy is a learning and capacity-building initiative offered by the World Health Organization. The Academy is open to all immunization professionals with an interest in the use, collection, and improvement of immunization data.

Aims of the Academy

The Academy aims to improve the capabilities of immunization staff to ensure that data that is fit-for-purpose is available in the right place at the right time to allow for timely decision-making and improvements in planning, implementation, and monitoring to result in better programme outcomes.

What is the Academy offering in 2018?

Starting in Fall 2018, the Academy will offer a WHO Scholar certificate programme to support competency development in national and sub-national staff. The Academy will offer: 

  • Level 1 certificate course in developing a Data Improvement Plan (DIP) in both English and French.
  • A series of workshops on key topics for immunization monitoring.
  • WHO Survey Scholar modules in French.

In 2019, the Academy will offer Level 2 certification, focusing on implementation of a Data Improvement Plan.

What capabilities can the Academy help you develop?

The Academy aims to develop technical, leadership, and digital capabilities:

  • Technical capabilities toward mastery application of the standards for immunization monitoring;
  • Leadership capabilities to achieve effective implementation through collaboration with partners and stakeholders; and
  • Digital capabilities to support remote collaboration and learning.

Click here to apply to join the Immunization Monitoring Academy

Vision statement

What has changed?

The demand for high-quality and timely immunization and disease surveillance data at the local, country and global levels has grown in recent years. As immunization programmes have matured – often achieving their initial vaccination coverage goals and adding more and more new vaccines to their immunization schedule – they have set increasingly ambitious goals, for instance to reach the populations that are the hardest to reach and improve equity in coverage across regions and demographic groups. These goals require the timely availability of high quality data, increasingly vital for countries to plan and manage their immunization programmes in an effective way.

How can data improvement make a difference?

The availability and use of reliable immunization programme monitoring and vaccine-preventable disease surveillance and vaccine safety data can help all countries continuously improve the performance of their national immunization programmes and reduce morbidity and mortality from vaccine-preventable diseases.

What data do we need and why?

What data do we need and why? Immunization programmes need to obtain data that are “fit for purpose”. Such data help decision-makers, programme managers and health workers take timely actions to optimize the performance and impact of immunization programmes, based on programme objectives.

What do we mean by “good quality” for immunization data?

Immunization data are considered of “good quality” if it is fit for decision-making. The right question is not whether data are exact and precise representations of objective facts, but rather if available data are good enough to provide evidence needed to take timely actions to optimize the performance and impact of the programme. This broad effort to improve monitoring practices is not limited to data quality.

What are the challenges?

While immunization programmes in many countries have more data available than most other public health programmes, more needs to be done. Despite the renewed focus on timely and accurate immunization data, a number of important challenges and issues at the local, national and global levels continue to be observed. This requires a change in our data use culture. This change doesn’t start with good data, but with health workers, managers and decision-makers at different levels analyzing, sharing and using the available data, no matter how imperfect. It is as much about fostering leadership as it is about developing technical capabilities.

Click here to apply to join the Immunization Monitoring Academy

About the WHO Scholar programme

Learning approach

WHO has used the Scholar Approach since 2016 to support country-level action planning based on the Global Routine Immunization Strategies and Practices (GRISP) guidelines and effective application of the WHO Vaccination Coverage Cluster Surveys Reference Manual. The approach draws on evidence-based action and applied learning, leadership acceleration, mentoring, and collaborative methodologies. It was developed by the University of Illinois College of Education and the Geneva Learning Foundation to support scalable peer learning for global health, humanitarian, and development work.3

What does it mean to become a WHO Scholar?

Participants in WHO Scholar courses are called “Scholars”. Those who have successfully completed at least one WHO Scholar course become Alumni, and are invited to join the WHO Scholar network. Some Alumni may also be asked to volunteer as WHO Scholar Accompanists, offering their support to new Scholars.

What is my chance of being selected by WHO for a course?

WHO will select applicants on the basis of information submitted by each applicant during the application process. Please take the time to provide accurate, complete information as requested in the application. Each course announcement includes specific criteria that will be considered when selecting applicants. Please carefully review these criteria. If you do not meet the stated criteria, your application is unlikely to be selected by WHO. Pay attention to the information contained in the announcement, such as the learning time required per week, as some application questions may refer to this information.

If you have applied but were not selected for previous WHO Scholar courses, this has no effect on a new application.

Candidates recommended by qualified WHO staff, Country EPI programme staff, or WHO Scholar Alumni (who have already completed at least one WHO Scholar course) may be given priority, if their applications meet the required criteria.

Click here to apply to join the Immunization Monitoring Academy


Developing a Data Improvement Plan (DIP)

Duration: 6 weeks – Minimum estimated learning time: 36 hours (6 hours per week)

English-language course: 15 October–7 December 2018
French-language course: 22 October–14 December 2018

Who should apply for the Level 1 certificate course?

You stand to benefit from this course if…

  • You make decisions or you help others make decisions based on analysis of immunization data
  • You consider that the current limitations of data you work with constrain your ability to make decisions.

You do not need to be a data manager or an M&E officer to qualify. Epidemiologists interested in better use, collection, and improvement of immunization data are encouraged to apply.

What you will gain from this course

  • Connect with a global community committed to improving immunization through better collection and use of data.
  • Learn from your peers through both formal and informal dialogue, giving and receiving feedback.
  • Compare and share best practice with fellow practitioners and global experts from WHO.
  • Earn an Academy certificate to demonstrate your improved capabilities for immunization monitoring.
  • Improve capabilities needed to meet the data quality requirements for all types of GAVI support.
  • Help raise the profile of immunization and surveillance data for decision-making as a priority within the immunization and health community at the local, national and global levels, and make it “everyone’s business”.
  • Develop your digital skills to collaborate and learn remotely.

Learning objectives

  1. Identify data needed to measure monitoring performance in a country or sub-country context.
  2. Analyze (using SWOT) immunization monitoring performance data in relation to the overall immunization system goals.
  3. Identify specific, actionable recommendations to improve monitoring, supported by evidence and aligned to context, strategy, and objectives.

Domains and data sources relevant for the monitoring and management of immunization programmes

What you will do

The Level 1 certificate course will engage participants in activities that require them to use the WHO Handbook on the use, collection, and improvement of immunization data.

As a participant in this course, you will work on the country of focus of your choice to:

  • Complete three weekly community assignments to review data about your country’s performance, establish a diagnosis, and identify ways of using data for action.
  • Complete a draft Data Improvement Plan for the country of focus that you can use in your work.
  • Peer review the draft Plans developed by colleagues from all over the world.
  • Present your findings and analysis to your peers during the weekly discussion group, giving and receiving feedback about your work.
  • Join optional workshops to deepen your comprehension of key concepts and hot topics.


  • WHO Handbook on the use, collection, and improvement of immunization data: Participants should download and familiarize themselves with the Handbook.
  • Country of focus: For your country of focus, you are expected to have knowledge (organigram, post descriptions) of EPI and HMIS, especially with respect to monitoring, systems, and analysis. You will need access to relevant documents such as recent data-related reviews (ex: data quality self-assessments [DQS], service availability and readiness assessment [SARA]), strategic plans (ex: cMYPs), recent programme reviews (ex: EPI, PIE, surveillance, etc.), surveillance standards (including case definitions), standard operating procedures (SOPs), tools, and documentation for data-related tasks. Other available documentation related to immunization data that are likely to be helpful to support your progress in the course includes: country bulletins, peer-reviewed literature, ad hoc reports, and other descriptions of the information system.


Participants should expect to:

  • dedicate at least 6 hours per week to course work.
  • participate remotely in the weekly, 60-minute group discussion that will take place online once a week. (Recordings of these sessions will be made available for those who are unable to attend for valid reasons.)
  • complete activities that have been divided into short daily tasks intended to be completed in 30 minutes.

Each set of course activities must be completed within a given week. Participants may schedule their work at any time during the week, except for the weekly group session which is scheduled at a fixed day and time each week. (Those unable to attend for a legitimate reason will be asked to complete a catch-up task.)

In addition to these required activities, optional workshops (90 minutes each) will provide opportunities to clarify or deepen comprehension of key concepts.

Schedule overview

ActivityEnglish languageFrench language
Onboarding15–19 October 201822–26 October 2018
Orientation22–26 October 201829 October–2 November 2018
Week 129 October–2 November 20185–9 November 2018
Week 25–9 November 201812–16 November 2018
Week 312–16 November 201819–23 November 18
Week 419–23 November 1826–30 November 2018
Week 526–30 November 20183–7 December 2018
Week 63–7 December 201810–14 December 2018
Weekly discussion groupThe English-language discussion group meets every Thursday at 14h00 (2 PM) Geneva UTC+1The French-language discussion group meets every Thursday at 16h00 (4 PM) Geneva UTC+1

Click here to apply to join the Immunization Monitoring Academy

About the WHO Handbook on the use, collection, and improvement of immunization data

The purpose of the Handbook is to enable country-level decision-makers to:

  • Decide what data are needed for programme improvement, and use them for action.
  • Develop efficient tools and information systems to collect and analyze immunization data.
  • Assess immunization data and systems, and implement data quality improvement plans

The Handbook will be the main resource for both Level 1 and Level 2 certificate courses.

The Global Framework to Strengthen Immunization and Surveillance Data for Decision-making is a companion document to the Handbook.


How the Academy’s scholar courses work

Technical requirements

Applicants are responsible for ensuring that they are able to meet the following requirements.

  • Information technology: You will need to access the course web site on a regular basis (preferably every day). Participants need to have access to a reliable Internet connection and a standards-based browser less than two years old (Firefox, Safari, or Chrome). Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge users will be asked to use a standards-based browser for the course. Mobile-only users will need to use Mobile Chrome in desktop mode when working on their course projects. When working with data, the use of Excel is likely to be required, preferably from a desktop computer. Specific guidance will be provided to those who have bandwidth limitations, intermittent access, or may suffer from disruption of their connection to the Internet.
  • Languages: The language of the Academy are English and French. Courses will usually be offered in both languages and run concurrently, contingent upon the availability of resources. Participants are encouraged to schedule extra time if they are not fully proficient writing in the course language.


Upon successful completion of an Academy course and following validation of your final project and assignments by the course team, you will receive a certificate of completion from the World Health Organization.

  • Each certificate is valid for a duration of three years.
  • Certificate holders agree to show upon request a portfolio of their work that includes the project(s) produced in Scholar.

The World Health Organization will:

  • consider certification as an important criterion for the selection of consultants to assist countries in immunization monitoring activities supported by WHO; and
  • encourage countries and their institutions to recognize the value of Academy certification.

Honor code

The WHO Scholar community is devoted to learning and the creation of knowledge. We view integrity as the basis for meaningful collaboration. We thus hold honesty – in the representation of our work and in our interactions – as the foundation of our community.

Members of the WHO Scholar community commit themselves to producing course work of integrity – that is, work that adheres to the scholarly and intellectual standards of accurate attribution of sources, appropriate collection and use of data, and transparent acknowledgement of the contribution of others to their ideas, discoveries, interpretations, and conclusions. Cheating on assignments or projects, plagiarizing or misrepresenting the ideas or language of someone else as one’s own, falsifying data, or any other instance of dishonesty violates the standards of our community, as well as the standards of the wider world of immunization.

WHO Scholar course participants are required to adhere to a strict Honor Code. Violation of the Honor Code may result in removal from the course, loss of certification (including prior WHO Scholar certificates), and notification of your employer.

Click here to apply to join the Immunization Monitoring Academy

WHO Scholar Accompanists to support and guide your progress

Throughout each course, participants may receive support from WHO Scholar Accompanists (Accompagnateurs). They are working immunization professionals who have volunteered to support their peers. They know what it is like to juggle a full-time job while participating in rigorous course work. Because they have both the job and learning experience, Accompanists are key actors in the support system to help you succeed in WHO Scholar courses.

Accompanists may or may not have specific expertise in immunization monitoring. Subject matter expertise will be provided by the course team. Rather, Accompanists will help you complete onboarding and orientation in Scholar. They will guide you through the learning process, help you to use the platforms, make sense of the assignments, and ensure that you know what you need to do next.

  • Course participants may request the support of an Accompanist
  • Some participants will be assigned an Accompanist if there are indications that they may need support.

Both Accompanists and Scholars will receive guidance to ensure that this exchange will be focused and productive.

Alongside the course team and the Accompanists, Scholars will also be invited to connect with each other, to learn from and support each other, but also to rekindle passion for and commitment to our work.

Connecting together as a learning community, we will support each other to strengthen our countries’ work to improve immunization.

Research and evaluation

WHO may review projects developed by Scholars in the Academy’s courses and consider some of them for use in communication, advocacy and training efforts. If this is the case, WHO will contact you to request your agreement and, if needed, to address any sensitive issues related to its content. Learners may also be invited to participate in education research by the Geneva Learning Foundation and its research partners to evaluate the efficacy of this learning initiative. Participation in this research is completely voluntary, and you may stop taking part at any time. In cases where learners do not consent, no learner data will be collected. Participation or non-participation will have no effect on assessment of your performance in the course or your present or future relationship with WHO.

Workshops open to everyone on key topics in immunization monitoring

These interactive workshops:

  • aim to answer “How do I…?” with practical examples and methods shared by a leading expert.
  • support the progress of Level 1 certificate course participants, who will be able to engage directly with the presenters.
  • will be open to attendance by those who are not taking the course, with no upper limit to the number of attendees.

Workshop topics and schedule

TopicCourse week
Data analysisWeek 1
Paper based records
(Home based Records, facility based records)
Week 2
Health Management Information Systems Week 3
Electronic Immunization Registries Week 4
Logistics Management Information Systems Week 5
Data Quality Self Assessments and
Data Quality Improvement Plans
Week 6

Special topics

Participants will be encouraged to explore special topics (ex: neo-natal tetanus monitoring, equity in coverage, etc.) in immunization monitoring to determine if they are relevant to their context.

Click here to apply to join the Immunization Monitoring Academy

Coming in February 2019

Level 2 certificate course Supporting countries to implement a Data Improvement Plan

This advanced course will focus on moving from planning to implementation of data improvement.

  • Languages: English and French
  • Duration: 6 weeks
  • Minimum estimated learning time: 36 hours (6 hours per week)

Please address any enquiries about this initiative to:

Jan Grevendonk
Technical Officer, Strategic Information Group
Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI)
Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals (IVB)
World Health Organization
20 Avenue Appia, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland

Connect with the Academy: