Cold Chain Boost To Scale Up Immunization
With Support from GAVI and UNICEF, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation through the Child Health and Expanded Programme on Immunization has embarked on a nationwide distribution of 220 refrigerators and installation of solar panel to boost/improve the cold chain system in the country to improve immunization coverage.
Programme Manager, Child Health and Expanded Programme on Immunization, Dr. Dennis Marke, in his New England Ville Office, explained that the 220 refrigerators came as a result of a cold chain assessment that was done on October 2016 in which a roadmap for an improved plan to achieving Immunization goals with effective vaccine management was mapped, stressing the need for an effective cold chain system and capacity building of refrigerator technicians. He reiterated that the assessment identified health facilities across the country with faulty refrigerators. He continued that some of these health facilities needed replacement and others met the threshold for replacement, though they were working.
“The distribution and installation of these refrigerators and solar panel will be done by a local farm; called Safer Feature, as per the assessment that was done”, affirmed Dr. Marke. While responding to the benefits of the refrigerators and the solar panel to the Immunization drive of the country. Dr Marke explained that for immunization to be effective vaccines need to be properly stored in the right temperature. He continued that the installed solar panel would address the power constraint of certain health facilities in remote communities to consistently power their refrigerators to ensure vaccine safety and potency. He added that these refrigerators will boost routine immunization coverage in the country, thereby preventing illnesses in children and morbidity.
Dilating on the culture of maintenance, Dr Marke stated that they had trained refrigerator technicians, 2 from each district to ensure regular preventive and corrective maintenance of cold chain equipment in the country. He called on civil society, the media and community to assist in the area of monitoring of these refrigerators, as they are to only contain vaccines.
Dr. Marke, fumed that there has been a challenge in the cold chain system in most of the health facilities in hard to reach communities in the country of which he noted impeded the Health Ministry and its partners to reach the target Immunization Coverage.
By Ibrahim Sorie Koroma, Health Education Officer-MoHS
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