Cold chain equipment for vaccine storage and distribution handed over to Ministry of Health, donated by Japan
Equipment to help with the ongoing national COVID-19 vaccination.
Nairobi, 7 September 2021 – The Ministry of Health today received 12 items of ultra-low temperature freezers and accessories for storage of COVID-19 vaccines that require very low temperatures. The equipment was procured by UNICEF with funding from the Government of Japan, through its global vaccine initiative ‘Last One Mile Support’. This leverages Japan’s longstanding experience of medical logistics to ensure equitable access and swift distribution of vaccines across the world. Senior Kenya Government officials led by Cabinet Secretary for Health Hon. Mutahi Kagwe, Japanese Ambassador HE Horie Ryoichi, UNICEF Chief of Health Yaron Wolman and acting WHO Representative Dr Juliet Nabyonga attended the handover ceremony in Nairobi.
“The Kenyan Government is very grateful to the Government of Japan for this cold chain equipment, which will greatly support our COVID-19 vaccination efforts. This equipment will enable appropriate vaccine storage, distribution and continuous temperature monitoring, including storage for vaccines that require ‘ultra-cold’ temperatures,” CS Health Mutahi Kagwe said. “The equipment delivered today will support Kenya’s readiness to receive Pfizer and other COVID-19 vaccines that need to be stored in very low temperatures.”
The Government of Japan has donated over 210 million Kenyan shillings through UNICEF to improve Kenya’s cold chain capacity for COVID-19 vaccines roll out, as part of a grant of around $11 million USD to 11 countries in the East and Southern African region. In addition to procurement of freezers and accessories, funds will also be used for the installation of new equipment and to provide training for healthcare workers on how to operate it.
Ambassador of Japan to Kenya HE Horie Ryoichi said: “The Government of Kenya and UNICEF have collaborated effectively, resulting in the speedy and successful procurement of the cold chain equipment. Proper storage facilities and a good management system are critical for effective distribution of the vaccines. Even though the Government of Kenya may secure a large number of doses, improper handling due to lack of cold chain systems or essential human resources could result in the vaccines losing their potency and becoming ineffective. Noting the importance of the cold chain supply chain capacity, the Government of Japan decided to extend an emergency grant aid of over 200 million Kenyan shillings through UNICEF.”
UNICEF Kenya Chief of Health Yaron Wolman said: “These freezers that UNICEF has procured on behalf of the Government of Kenya can store around four million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The equipment will help bolster Kenya’s health system capacity by ensuring that vaccines reach those in greatest need, wherever they live. The generous funding from the Government of Japan will also be used to support the installation of the equipment and provide training for the healthcare workers on how to operate it. This investment builds on UNICEF’s ongoing support for cold chain capacity in Kenya and will further strengthen the existing immunization and overall health care system for the future, beyond the immediate response to COVID-19.”
WHO Acting Representative Dr Juliet Nabyonga said: “Cold chain capacity is essential to store and transport vital COVID-19 vaccines safely across Kenya, while also ensuring that the COVID-19 response does not disrupt routine immunization services for other childhood diseases such as polio, pneumonia, diarrhea and measles. With this equipment, vaccines that require very low temperatures can be safely stored in selected centers closer to population in need, including vulnerable and high-risk groups targeted in the vaccination roll out by the Government of Kenya.”
You can download hi-res photos of the equipment handover here: https://bit.ly/3jFq8jO
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org. For more information about COVID-19, visit www.unicef.org/coronavirus . Find out more about UNICEF’s work on the COVID-19 vaccines here, or about UNICEF’s work on immunization here.