Expansion of vaccine storage capacity in Gabon's new warehouse inaugurated at Nkembo hospital

25 March 2024
Chaine de froid
UNICEF/2024/Paul Mv
Group photo in fron of the newly installed cold chains
coupure ruban
UNICEF/2024/Paul Mv

Libreville, March 25, 2024: The Immunization Program (PEV) vaccine storage warehouse at Nkembo Hospital has undergone significant upgrades and expansion thanks to the collaborative efforts of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) with funding from the Government of Japan.

The revamped facilities will triple Gabon's central vaccine storage capacity, increasing it from 26 m3 to 86 m3. Alongside the installation of two cold rooms— one negative (20 m3) and one positive (40 m3)—a 40 KVA generator has been installed to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the cold rooms. Furthermore, the storage warehouse now boasts 7 freezer units and 4 fully equipped workstations complete with tables, chairs, storage units, and office computers.

Recognizing that healthcare extends beyond Libreville, this initiative encompasses outreach to Mouila, Oyem, and Franceville, where three additional cold storage facilities (each 30 m3) will be set up, each equipped with generators.

Enhanced transport and storage capabilities for vaccines are also ensured with the provision of 4 refrigerated vehicles, previously allocated as part of this funding initiative.

The aim is to improve immunization coverage in Gabon, particularly for routine childhood vaccinations. The inauguration of this vaccine storage facility today in the presence of the Minister of Health, the Japanese Ambassador to Gabon and the Acting Representative of UNICEF-Gabon demonstrates that the new vaccine storage facility is up and running, and that the Government now has enhanced capacity to provide a more secure immunization service.

"This contribution from the Japanese people, through their Embassy in Gabon, demonstrates their shared desire to support the efforts of the Gabonese Government in its commitment to strengthening human security, ensuring equitable access to vaccines and protecting the population, particularly children, against preventable diseases", explains Dina Rakotoharifetra, UNICEF Gabon's Acting Representative.

"This project is part of Japanese-Gabonese cooperation with UNICEF. It's another step towards fulfilling Japan's commitment to achieving universal health coverage. Thanks to this project, more Gabonese have access to balanced medical care, which translates into better care for the most disadvantaged, especially children and women", emphasizes Mr. Shuji NOGUCHI, Japanese Ambassador to Gabon.

In 2024, the project will persist in training healthcare workers in data management, biomedical practices, vaccine waste management, and fostering social and behavioral changes conducive to immunization.

As a reminder, the Government of Japan has provided Emergency Aid of three million dollars, equivalent to 1.7 billion FCFA, to Gabon through the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to bolster the Gabonese Government's efforts in strengthening the cold chain in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. This gesture of solidarity from the Japanese people is part of a broader allocation totaling twenty million dollars, benefiting 10 countries in Africa: Botswana, Gabon, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Lesotho, Namibia, Niger, South Africa, Tanzania, and Togo.

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