Government receives additional cold chain equipment for country’s overall immunization program
PORT MORESBY, 5 MAY 2020 – The Government of Papua New Guinea today received 224 solar vaccine refrigerators and freezers that will help strengthen, improve and sustain the cold chain system for the country’s overall immunization program.
This assistance is part of a larger support initiated in 2020 by Gavi at a cost of K14 million that involved the provision of 674 Cold Chain Equipment (CCE) to help boost the country’s cold chain capacity for the safe storage of vaccines.
“The Government of Papua New Guinea through the National Department of Health is committed to providing essential immunization services to its citizens and we thank Gavi, UNICEF and WHO for the support they are providing to help strengthen our important immunization programme that is managed and implemented by the Provincial Health Authorities. While we appreciate and acknowledge this ongoing support, I urge all provinces to plan and take responsibility and ownership for ongoing routine maintenance and sustainability.” Health Minister, Jelta Wong stated.
In 2020, the Government received an initial batch of 364 vaccine refrigerators and freezers that were distributed to rural and urban health facilities in 22 provinces. The additional 224 cold chain equipment come at a critical time to support the smooth roll out of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign due to kick off around the country this week.
“UNICEF in partnership with Gavi is committed to supporting the Government with essential lifesaving vaccines and effective cold chain systems to improve routine immunization service and increase coverage”, said UNICEF Acting Representative, Judith Bruno, at a handover ceremony today.
“As we continue to support and promote the uptake of routine immunization by parents and caregivers, it is also our responsibility to ensure that vaccines are readily available in the health facilities, provided, there are functional vaccine refrigerators and cold chain equipment to store the much-needed vaccines,” Bruno added.
These equipment will help rehabilitate the remaining gap in the country’s immunization cold chain system. The 224 vaccine refrigerators will be distributed to urban and rural health facilities without electricity in 22 provinces. The second batch of 98 vaccine fridges for the remaining Health Facilities, will arrive in July this year.
With an expanding immunization program nationally, the provision of these essential equipment will help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the immunization supply chains and enhance the various components like optimal cold chain equipment functionality and maintenance system, transport and delivery mechanisms, human resource capacity and effective data management/application systems to assist sustained key health performance improvements .
UNICEF has been supporting the Government revamp the country’s cold chain system through the planning, rehabilitation, procurement, deployment, installation and commissioning of these new assets as well as providing user training for health workers managing these assets.
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 in Papua New Guinea, visit https://www.unicef.org/png/