Japan supports cold chain equipment and training to bolster South Sudan’s COVID-19 vaccine programme
Today, 30 cold chain technicians graduate from training at the Saint Vincent Training Institute in Juba. The ceremony also marks the handover of cold chain supplies from the Government of Japan to the Health System in South Sudan. The Japanese Government through its partnership with UNICEF has provided crucial cold chain equipment and trainings – to boost South Sudan’s capacity to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
These activities are under the Japan-supported project “Emergency Grant Aid in Improving Cold Chains in African countries that suffer from the impact of COVID-19”. In addition to the procurement of essential cold chain supplies for the management of COVID-19 in South Sudan, the grant supports training of technicians to ensure sustainability.
The cold chain system is the backbone of the immunization programme that ensures the safe storage and transportation of vaccines for vaccination service delivery. Installation of the new cold chain equipment, as well as maintenance and repair of the existing cold chain, is vital for ensuring the availability of quality vaccines for people across the country.
“It is one of the essential initiatives for the realization of human security to fight against the virus and restore people’s lives”, said H.E. TSUTSUMI Naohiro, Ambassador of Japan to South Sudan. “I believe that this project successfully ensures vaccines reach every corner of South Sudan to save lives and contribute to capacity building in the health sector as well”.
There are more than 1,000 cold chain systems in the country serving the vaccination programme around 200 health facilities are being equipped with new cold chain equipment. Moreover, as health facilities can be damaged due to annual flooding and community conflicts, the existing cold chain equipment is receiving repair, maintenance, and reallocation.
There is a limited number of qualified cold chain technicians in the country, particularly in the immunization programme to undertake installation, commissioning, preventive maintenance, and repair of the existing cold chain equipment. Lack of local training institutes has created acute shortage of skilled human resources has made cold chain management difficult.
UNICEF in partnership with the Ministry of Health engaged a local training institute in South Sudan, the St. Vincent De Paul Society, to conduct mid-level cold chain technicians’ training to vaccine management teams from counties across the country.
“With the ongoing commitment of the Government, the solid availability of vaccine doses, better cold chain facilities, and the support of stakeholders such as the Government of Japan, and other partners in Health – South Sudan can demonstrate what it takes to achieve the targeted immunity against COVID-19,” said Jesper Moller, Acting Representative, UNICEF South Sudan.
The training is aimed at the cold chain technicians at state and county level, 60 Ministry of Health staff, in two batches of 30 each for a period of 30 days each. They will be trained on preventive maintenance and repair of the cold chain equipment.
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For more information about UNICEF and its work in South Sudan visit: www.unicef.org/southsudan
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