UNICEF and USAID hand over 270 refrigerators and freezers to strengthen vaccine cold chain system in Kosovo
UNICEF is playing a vital role in supporting the health system in Kosovo in improving child and maternal health
Today, UNICEF in partnership with USAID has donated essential cold chain equipment to the Ministry of Health to ensure the safe storage and transport of vaccines. This life-saving equipment will support the routine immunization of children as well as COVID-19 vaccination throughout Kosovo.
The resources provided to the Ministry of Health include five new cold rooms for National Institute of Public Health vaccine central storage, 214 vaccine refrigerators and 56 vaccine freezers to ensure vaccines are kept at the correct temperature. In addition, USAID funding will support training for Ministry of Health staff in operation and maintenance of cold chain equipment and will support the development of a digitalized system for improved monitoring and management of vaccine stocks.
The Deputy Minister of Health, Ms. Dafina Gexha Bunjaku said: The Ministry of Health highlights the great importance of advancing technology and equipment for the safe storage and transport of vaccines, to achieve the highest level of vaccine coverage of the Expanded Immunization Programme and other vaccines. Kosovo's health institutions' partnership with UNICEF and USAID is a good example of partnership to provide safe vaccines for all in Kosovo.
This delivery marks the first phase of the USAID-supported replacement of the entire vaccine cold chain in Kosovo, which will enhance vaccine storage capacities at all levels, from central vaccine storage at the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH) to Family Medical Centers across all municipalities in Kosovo.
As Zeinah Salahi, USAID Mission Director said in her opening remarks, “Today we are distributing equipment that is a critical component to safely getting COVID-19 vaccines to all of the people in the country who need them. In fact, this equipment donation will not just help the COVID-19 vaccination program but any of Kosovo’s immunization programs that need cold storage – especially routine immunizations of children, a core public health service.”
Nona Zicherman, Head of UNICEF in Kosovo said: “with this generous support from USAID, UNICEF has been able to support the Ministry of Health to ensure easier and safe access to vaccines throughout Kosovo. The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and those who remain unvaccinated are especially at risk. UNICEF and USAID will continue to work together to combat vaccine hesitancy, expand demand for and access to COVID-19 and other vaccines, boost routine immunization rates among children, and ensure all children and families in Kosovo are healthy and safe”.
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.