Ghana, Japan, and UNICEF boost the COVID-19 vaccination drive with 30 new ultra-cold chain equipment for storage of vaccines

Strategic partnership to strengthen health systems and increase resilience against future shocks

06 July 2021
A group photo of UNICEF, Ministry of Health and Embassy of Japan
UNICEF/UN736399/ADATSI

ACCRA, 6 July 2021 – The Government of Japan has contributed nearly US$1 million to procure ultra-cold chain equipment, designed to store COVID-19 vaccines at very low temperatures, as part of an ongoing strategic partnership with the Government of Ghana to shore up COVID-19 vaccinations and population immunity in the country. 

The investment will also ensure capacity building and training of over 140 health staff on how to operate and maintain the cold chain equipment and monitor the COVID-19 vaccines distribution. The Government of Ghana’s cold chain strengthening, and vaccine management plan will also be supported through data collection and analysis, consultations, and policy formulations. 

“This support to improve Ghana’s vaccine storage capacity in line with the COVID-19 vaccination agenda is greatly welcome as Government continues to mobilize resources towards the procurement of vaccines for COVID-19 response. This will not only improve or vaccine storage infrastructure but will also increase access and expand the scope and variety and scope of vaccines that can be made available to Ghanaians as we race towards attaining herd immunity,”

The Honorable Minister for Health, Dr. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu

Japan has been a key partner to the Government of Ghana in bolstering efforts to respond to strengthen health systems and the COVID-19 crisis since March 2020. A new COVID-19 testing and diagnostic machine has been installed at the Eastern Regional Hospital. It has significantly reduced the waiting period for results from seven days to four hours. 

“Japan strongly emphasizes human security as one of the philosophies of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development. Human security is not only about protection but also empowerment, and so it is profoundly important to intervene in areas of health and nutrition as well as to fight against COVID-19. This new contribution brings the total of Japan’s support through UNICEF in Ghana to approximately US$ 3.3 million since 2019, TICAD7,”

H.E. Ambassador of Japan to Ghana, Himeno Tsutomu.

To reduce the risk of malnutrition in the pandemic, over 120,000 children have benefitted from micro-nutrient powders to reduce anemia. Over 400 sets of training materials on Infant and Young Child Feeding and Infection Prevention and Control have been printed and distributed to health centers through support from Japan and UNICEF. 

Over 7,000 health workers in the Eastern region have received on-the-job training on the continuity of high quality maternal and child health care, as well as nutrition services. Some of these services include routine immunization against preventable diseases, pre- and post-natal care, and essential care for survivors of gender-based violence. Since the start of the pandemic, essential services have been provided for over 530,000 women and children. Additionally, nearly 77,000 outpatients have benefitted from the rehabilitation of WASH facilities in five health centers in the Eastern Region. 

Working with relevant national authorities at all levels and implementing partners, over nine million people received accurate information on COVID-19 public health, safety and prevention messages through social media and mass broadcasting across 30 radio stations and five key TV channels at national and community level. 

Life-saving information on Maternal and Child Health Care is more widely available in the different languages thanks to an innovative mobile-based knowledge sharing platform Agoo, which is free on Ghana’s largest telecoms provider, MTN. 

Over 160,000 Maternal and Child Health Record Books, which are valuable tools for tracking the growth and development of children, were distributed to nine regions. With data recorded in the book during each visit to the hospitals, health workers and mothers can detect and respond early to developmental delays. 

“This strategic partnership is essential to build back better and strengthen health systems for the future. This helps ensure stronger capacity for quality, inclusive and affordable health-service delivery in the years ahead. As part of the UN Country Team in Ghana, UNICEF is delighted to work closely with the Governments of Ghana and Japan, and other partners, to boost progress towards universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals. Together, we are making a difference in the lives of children and their families,”

Anne Claire Dufay, UNICEF Representative in Ghana

Media contacts

E. Offeibea Baddoo
Communication Officer
Tel: +233 24 466 3643
Ruth Pappoe
Digital Communication Officer
Tel: +233 26 170 1779

About Ministry of Health  

The Ministry of Health seeks to improve the health status of all people living in Ghana and contribute to the Government’s vision of providing universal health coverage for a healthy population. The Ministry of Health, working in partnership with its agencies and stakeholders aims at improving the human capital and “creating wealth through health” through the development and implementation of proactive policies that ensures improved health, vitality and a vibrant economic sector. 

About Government of Japan 

Japan focuses on the Human Security in its Official Development Assistance Policy. Japan regards Ghana as one of the countries in which Universal Health Coverage is being promoted for strengthening health financing, promoting Primary Health Care, tackling infectious and non-infectious diseases, improving situations on water, sanitation, and nutrition, promoting education in health, and developing human resources for health and others. In addition, to addressing the current global pandemic, Japan has pledged contribution of US$ 1 billion to COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, or COVAC Facility. 

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.

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