Preserving lifesaving vaccination services in Sudan
The Gedaref Cold Chain facility: A critical node in ensuring uninterrupted supply chain of vaccines across twelve states in Sudan.
Despite the ongoing crisis, on 1 August, UNICEF and partners celebrated a glimmer of hope as the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, Clementine Nkweta-Salami, formally inaugurated on the Gedaref cold chain building, generously funded by the German Cooperation through KfW Development Bank.
With an estimated 80% of hospitals out of service in the country and an estimated 1.7 million children under-one at risk of missing out on critical vaccinations, the cold chain facility - completed just two weeks before the conflict erupted - has helped UNICEF and partners maintain the immunization supply chain across 12 states.
“The newly constructed and equipped state cold chain was done through UNICEF support and generous funding from German cooperation/ KFW. With the ongoing crisis, it serves as a strategic reserve and hub for the national cold store and other states including Darfur,”
The building is one of two cold chain structures, funded by the German Cooperation/KfW in Gedaref and Kassala states, which have been vital to UNICEF’s wider immunization response today. They are a critical node in a network of air freight, transporters and drivers ensuring an uninterrupted supply chain of vaccines across 12 states in Sudan.
The Gedaref cold chain facility now has the capacity to store a six-month stock of life-saving vaccines and medicines, increasing the preparedness and response capacity of the state – a vital aspect as more and more people seek safety in eastern Sudan.
UNICEF is deeply grateful for support from Gavi and partners which help to secure vaccines for Sudan. As vaccines arrive in Port Sudan, the cold chain stores are used as re-packing stops until they are sent on their longer journey inland to Kosti, where they are prepositioned for the Kordofan and Darfur regions.
Secondly, the stores have served as backup hubs to the central cold chain where fighting in the first few hours of the conflict compromised millions worth of lifesaving vaccines in Khartoum. With the Federal Ministry of Health, UNICEF worked quickly to secure fuel for back-up generators, but the vaccines needed to be moved quickly as fuel became more and more challenging to access and transport in Khartoum.
The Gedaref and Kassala cold chains stood ready, and four months’ worth of lifesaving vaccines were saved and transported to the cold chain structures. Today, they are ensuring immunization services continue for a catchment population of 207,596 children under-one and 953,240 children under-five.
“The Gedaref cold chain building – completed just two weeks prior to the outbreak of conflict – came at just the right time. Without this critical infrastructure, our efforts to move vaccines from the central cold chain and continuing immunization services would be much more challenging,”
To date, 179,000 children under-one received life-saving vaccines since the launch of the two new cold rooms.
“Health systems investments remain critical today and we are looking to urgently expand this capacity as part our immunization response scale up”.
Tedla Damte, UNICEF Chief of Health and Nutrition
UNICEF is deeply grateful for partners’ support for children in Sudan to survive and thrive.
Please support UNICEF to reach 11.9 million people - of which 9.4 million are children - with life-saving assistance in health, nutrition, WASH, child protection, learning, and psycho-social support. For more details, please see the revised UNICEF 2023 Humanitarian Appeal for Children.