UNICEF’s Solar Direct Drive Vaccine Refrigerator Revolutionizes Immunization in Liberia
UNICEF procured and installed 245 cold chain equipment across Liberia with funding from the Governments of Japan and the United States to facilitate the smooth introduction of COVID-19 vaccines in the country.
For Janmie M. Kollie, a vaccinator at Ceegbah clinic in Grand Bassa County, Liberia, getting vaccines to children in remote communities was a daily challenge. He had to use a motorcycle to travel 37 kilometers to the county depot in Buchanan, where the vaccines were stored. The trip was risky and time-consuming, especially during the rainy season.
But things changed for the better when UNICEF installed a new Solar Direct Drive vaccine refrigerator at the Ceegbah clinic in September 2022. The refrigerator, which is powered by solar energy, can store vaccines at the right temperature and ensure their quality and safety.
The refrigerator is one of the 245 cold chain equipment that UNICEF procured and installed across Liberia with funding from the Governments of Japan and the United States. The equipment is part of UNICEF’s efforts to strengthen the institutional capacity to manage the cold chain system and facilitate the smooth introduction of COVID-19 vaccines in the country.
The new refrigerator has made a big difference for Mr. Kollie and his colleagues at the Ceegbah clinic, which serves a catchment population of 5,116 people and 106 communities. The clinic provides primary health care services, including immunization, to children and women.
“Witnessing the installation of brand-new cold chain equipment at the Ceegbah clinic is something that we all wished for, and I am thrilled to see this wish becoming a reality,” says Mr. Kollie. “You can imagine how a mother would feel after walking for two hours to reach our clinic to be told that we could not collect vaccines today from Buchanan. This was very discouraging and the chance of having her come back for vaccines was slim.”
Mr. Kollie says that with the new refrigerator, he can now store enough vaccines at the clinic and plan his outreach activities more efficiently. He can also vaccinate more children and protect them from preventable diseases.
“I am very grateful to UNICEF and partners for this support. It has made my work easier and more rewarding. I can now focus on reaching every child with life-saving vaccines and ensuring their health and well-being,” he says.
UNICEF has been working in Liberia for almost 30 years to help every child reach their full potential. With its child-focused mandate, country presence and operational capacity, UNICEF supports the Government of Liberia and other partners in areas such as child, maternal and neonatal health; combating malnutrition; water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH); basic education; and child protection.