His Excellency Tsutomu Himeno, the Ambassador of Japan to Ghana and UNICEF have handed over 30 ultra-low temperature freezers to the Ministry of Health, Ghana and the Ghana Health Service. The charity aims at strengthening the cold chain system in the country.
About two weeks ago, UNICEF and Gavi partnered to fund, procure and deliver more than 2,300 items of cold chain equipment. That was to ensure health centres met immunization targets.
Vaccines are one of the most effective tools we have to prevent disease and death, especially amongst children. According to reports, every year, they save about 3 million children’s lives around the world.
However, for vaccines to work effectively, they require a definite temperature range for storage purposes. The fridges, freezers and cold boxes that maintain this temperature is called the ‘cold chain’. Meanwhile, keeping vaccines cold enough can also be a major challenge for many countries. The challenge arises from outdated equipment and an unreliable electricity supply.
A notable example is the Dokrochiwa Health Centre in Ayensuano district. The 31-year-old refrigerator was becoming temperamental. Often, it records temperatures beyond the 2-8 degrees Celsius required for most childhood routine vaccines such as pentavalent, polio, and measles, mumps and rubella. Broken hinges on the door sealing the vaccines inside further worsened the situation.
The current donation led by the Japan Ambassador and UNICEF will benefit 12 regional health directorates, 10 regional hospitals, five teaching hospitals, 2 quasi-government hospitals and one private hospital will benefit from this ultracold chain equipment.
According to UNICEF, Ghana now has more capacity to receive #COVID19 vaccines as well.