42 young community workers equipped with skills on the preventive maintenance of the cold chain in Congo receive their certificates.

Under the leadership of the Minister of Health in Congo, UNICEF, WHO and GAVI launch the first innovative young volunteers’ initiative for preventive equipment maintenance in order to improve the quality of vaccine conservation.

03 March 2021
Remise de certificats aux jeunes volontaires en charge de la chaine de froid
Remise de certificats aux jeunes volontaires en charge de la chaîne de froid, photo de famille des officiels avec les jeunes volontaires de Pointe-Noire

Pointe Noire, Republic of Congo, February 24, 2021 - 42 young Congolese engaged as community actors for the preventive maintenance of the cold chain join a certificate awarding ceremony organized by the Minister of Health, UNICEF and WHO on February 24 in Pointe Noire, the second largest city in the Republic of Congo, and in Diosso, located in the Kouilou region in the south of the country. 28 of these young volunteers are based in Pointe Noire and 14 in Kouilou.

The community-based cold chain maintenance initiative was launched in 2019 in an effort to effectively innovate vaccine management through community engagement and reduce risks in vaccine storage due to poor maintenance of the cold chain. More than 200 pieces of equipment, including solar refrigerators, were acquired and installed between 2019 and 2020. 42 young women and men living in the areas where healthcare centers host the cold chain have been trained in preventive, local and rapid maintenance of the equipment.

“Immunization is a Key Result for Children: without quality vaccines, there is no protection.” says Micaela Marques De Sousa, UNICEF Representative in the Republic of Congo. "This innovative initiative is grounded on the idea that young people and communities themselves play an important role in the health of children. Adopting a community-based approach to the cold chain provides an early warning system to protect  the equipment and ensures the long-term sustainability of equipment and interventions.”

As a result of  the implementation of a catch-up vaccination strategy in low-performing areas by the Ministry of Health, UNICEF, WHO and other development partners in the country, including GAVI, vaccination coverage for children has increased from 67% to almost 80% between 2017 and 2020. Thanks to these efforts on immunization, neonatal tetanus has been eradicated in Congo since 2009 and the wild poliovirus strain of polio has been eradicated since 2010.

“This initiative is today more than ever a necessity to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health programmes, including immunization, and to ensure good quality healthcare services for communities.” says Mrs. Jacqueline Lydia MIKOLO, Minister of Health, Population, Women’s Promotion and Integration of Women in Development in Congo. "These interventions, in combination with the Vaccine Independence Initiative to secure stocks of priority products in Congo, such as vaccines, show the success of the partnership between the Government and the United Nations for the health of the population.”

Over the next two years, the Ministry of Health in Congo, UNICEF, WHO and GAVI plan to acquire approximately 400 additional supplies and equipment for the cold chain. They also plan to train more young community volunteers in all the other regions in Congo to ensure that an adequate storage of vaccines throughout the country. These young people will play a vital role in ensuring that no cold chain piece of equipment remains without maintenance.

Media contacts

Francesca PEZZOLA
Communications and Partnership Specialist
Tel: +242 06 510 30 88
Stevie Ruchelle Sianard-Bidjoua
Communications Associate
Tel: +242 06 510 30 86

A propos de l'UNICEF

En partenariat avec les acteurs au développement nationaux et internationaux, UNICEF appui le Gouvernement congolais à développer des politiques sociales en faveur des enfants en vue d’améliorer la qualité et l’accès aux services sociaux de base, indispensables au respect de leurs droits à la survie, à l’éducation et à la protection. Une attention particulière est accordée aux groupes les plus vulnérables en l’occurrence les enfants des populations autochtones, les filles, les enfants des familles les plus pauvres et les enfants vivant en milieu rural.

Pour plus d’informations à propos de l’UNICEF et son action pour les enfants, visitez le site global de l’UNICEF.

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