WHO Scholar Level  1 certificate course in data  improvement planning

The World Health Organization (WHO) invites applications for the second bilingual (French/English) cohort of the WHO Scholar Level 1 certificate course in data improvement planning open to all data managers, M&E officers and epidemiologists interested in better use, collection, and improvement of immunization data.

Applications will be accepted until 29 July 2019.

Before you decide if you wish to apply, please review the recording of the course information briefing held on 12 July 2019. Click here to view and download the resources for this briefing

Successful applicants will receive a Letter of Acceptance by e-mail from WHO before 23 August 2019.
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Schedule overview

DatesEnglish languageFrench language
16–20 September 2019Onboarding week
23–27 September 2019Orientation week
30 September–4 October 2019Week 1Onboarding week
7–11 October 2019Week 2Orientation week
14–18 October 2019Week 3Week 1
Term Break: 19 October–3 November 2019
4–8 November 2019Week 4Week 2
11–15 November 2019Week 5Week 3
18–22 November 2019Week 6Week 4
25–29 November 2019Week 5
2–6 December 2019Week 6

Webinars open to everyone on key topics in data improvement

These interactive webinars:

  • aim to answer “How do I…?” with practical examples and methods shared by a global expert.
  • support the progress of 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.

Topics might be fine-tuned based on learner needs.

TopicCourse week
Data improvement planWeek 1
Data for coverage and equityWeek 2
Data use cultureWeek 3
DenominatorsWeek 4
Health Management Information Systems Week 5
Digital systemsWeek 6

Who should apply?

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.

Added value

  1. Connect with a global community committed to improving immunization through better collection and use of data.
  2. Learn from your peers through both formal and informal dialogue, giving and receiving feedback.
  3. Compare and share best practice with fellow practitioners and global experts from WHO.
  4. Earn a WHO Scholar certificate to demonstrate your improved capabilities for immunization monitoring.
  5. Improve capabilities needed to meet the data quality requirements for all types of GAVI support.
  6. 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”.
  7. Develop your digital skills to collaborate and learn remotely.

Learning objectives

Scholars who successfully complete the course are expected to be able to:

  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.

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 that you can use in your work.
  • Peer review the draft Plans developed by colleagues.
  • 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.

Resources and prerequisites

  • 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.

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.

Download the Handbook

Download the Framework


Participants should expect to:

  • dedicate at least 6-8 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 view the session recording to complete a catch-up task.)

In addition to these required activities, webinars on specific topics of immunization routine strategies and practices will be organized.


Upon successful completion of the course and following validation of your final project and assignments by the course team and subject matter experts at WHO headquarters and regional offices, you will receive a certificate of participation 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.

What is the WHO Scholar Programme ?