USAID and UNICEF strengthen the cold chain system in rural areas of Moldova
UNICEF procured from USAID funds and delivered to Moldova 114 refrigerators for storage of vaccines
14 December 2021, Chișinău. UNICEF procured from USAID funds and delivered to Moldova 114 ice lined refrigerators for storage of vaccines, with a total value of more than 1.5 million Moldovan lei. With a storage capacity of 60L each, the Vestfrost VLS 204A refrigerators can store a combined 3.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines that require storage at 2-8 degrees Celsius.
The procured refrigerators will be delivered to primary health care units in Moldova, including the Transdnistrian region.
This delivery met the urgent need for cold chain capacity brought by the United States donation of 300,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine to Moldova in July 2021, but also by other expected donations through COVAX and over 300,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines procured by the Government of Moldova”.
Cold chain equipment, such as vaccine refrigerators and freezers, is critical to support countries to scale-up their vaccination programmes as quickly as possible.
"USAID committed almost $7 million to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and supplied safe and effective vaccines to the people of Moldova. The cold storage equipment provided through USAID assistance via UNICEF today, will both replace outdated appliances and provide new opportunities to expand the availability of vaccines to new locations throughout Moldova,” said Scott Hocklander, USAID Moldova Mission Director. “Vaccinations, whether for COVID or those our children receive on a regular basis, have shown throughout their history to be the safest and most cost effective means to prevent serious illness -- saving the lives of 2-3 million children every year. There is no silver bullet to ending the pandemic , but we have clear examples from around the world that the best way to protect ourselves and our loved ones is through vaccination"
„Not vaccines alone - but vaccination saves lives. And vaccination is a complex process that includes many elements. One of these essential element is a secure cold chain – ensuring that quality vaccines are kept in optimal conditions and reach all who needs them – adult and children”, said Maha Damaj, Country Representative, UNICEF Moldova. „As the world's biggest buyer and supplier of vaccines, UNICEF will continue to play a pivotal role in supporting governments’ current and future immunization efforts – including strengthening the country’s cold chain capacity”.
„We are grateful to USAID for helping ensure cold chain storage facilities are in place from the moment vaccines leave the warehouse to the moment they are administered. We also appreciate the strong support provided by USAID Moldova and UNICEF Moldova since the beginning of the pandemic. The medical staff and the whole health system felt the support and implication. Thus, our gratitude knows no bounds”, mentioned minister of Health, Ala Nemerenco.
Currently, 22% of the refrigerators used by primary health care institutions are refrigerators for domestic use and about 34% of the refrigerators used to store vaccines, at national level, were procured more than 20 years ago and need to be replaced to ensure the cold chain capacity is aligned to international standards.
UNICEF’s procurement and delivery of cold chain equipment is happening at extraordinary speed, as Moldova was the first country in Europe to receive Covid-19 vaccines through COVAX.
To date, Moldova has fully vaccinated against COVID-19 close to one million people, or approximately a quarter of its population.
The donation is made under the ‘Prevention and Response to COVID-19’ Program, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by UNICEF Moldova. The project is part of the USD 3.9 million assistance provided by the US Government, through USAID, to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Moldova.
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