To aid effective vaccine storage, UNICEF equips 1,000 vaccination points in Ukraine with refrigerators meeting global standards

12 March 2024
A nurse at the "Family Doctor" clinic in Vidradny opens a refrigerator for storing vaccines, provided by UNICEF and partners.
UNICEF
A nurse at the "Family Doctor" clinic in Vidradny opens a refrigerator for storing vaccines, provided by UNICEF and partners.

KYIV, 12 March 2024 – From December 2023 to February 2024, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has delivered nearly 1,400 specialized refrigerators ensuring effective vaccine storage in 23 regions across Ukraine.

Today, thanks to UNICEF and USAID efforts, alongside the World Bank and the COVAX initiative, approximately 95 per cent of health care facilities and around 80 percent of vaccination points are equipped with quality cold-chain equipment and temperature loggers.

“A prerequisite for ensuring high-quality vaccines for immunization is their proper storage, using cold-chain equipment that meets global standards,” says Munir Mammadzade, UNICEF Representative to Ukraine. “With this impressive new batch of refrigerators brought to Ukraine with USAID’s support, we are taking another significant step towards properly equipping vaccination points around the country. Importantly, with this new equipment, health facilities in Ukraine are better prepared for possible power outages.”

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UNICEF

The new specialised cold-chain equipment ensures continuous storage temperatures for up to three days in the event of an electrical failure. This is particularly important amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, where attacks on the electricity grid have impacted healthcare power systems.

UNICEF has been supporting Ukraine with its update of vaccine storage refrigerators to meet global standards. The World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and other expert bodies specialized in immunization recommend using standard equipment for the storage of vaccines to ensure effectiveness.

“Preventive healthcare among the population is an ongoing priority for the healthcare sector,” says Ihor Kuzin, Deputy Minister, Chief State Sanitary Doctor. “At the national level, a comprehensive programme of re-equipment in line with the highest cold chain standards is underway – 95 per cent of the cold-chain equipment has been already replaced. This includes refrigerators and freezers, specifically used for the vaccination cycle, starting from national-level warehouses to the establishment or upgrading of cold rooms at the level of regional centers for disease control and prevention.”

“Despite the full-scale war, the Ministry of Health, in cooperation with international partners, ensures the uninterrupted availability of vaccines for routine immunization at the level of each region, so that newborns can receive all mandatory vaccinations while at the maternity ward, and children and adults can receive them at the family doctor or vaccination point,” adds Mr. Kuzin. “These services are high quality, affordable and free of charge for patients.”

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UNICEF

To support this initiative, UNICEF is training health care and transportation on the use of the new equipment. In total, in 2022-2023, UNICEF has conducted 139 training workshops, organized with the support of the World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the COVAX initiative. Approximately 5,000 health workers across Ukraine have benefited from this training on vaccine and cold chain management.

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UNICEF

Background

UNICEF has been working with the World Bank, GAVI and USAID to update and enhance the cold-chain infrastructure in Ukraine. Almost 6,600 vaccine refrigerators and freezers have already been procured and delivered that will support effective vaccine storage at storage and vaccination points. UNICEF, with its own funds and USAID funds, also procured 36 refrigerator vans for vaccine transportation from national and regional levels to vaccination points.

In 2023 and early 2024, UNICEF delivered nearly 3 million doses of vaccines (polio, diphtheria-tetanus, measles-mumps-rubella, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), COVID-19, hepatitis A) procured with support from USAID, the governments of Japan, the Netherlands and France, and the international COVAX initiative. In addition, UNICEF provided nearly 6.2 million syringes for vaccination.

Media contacts

Damian Rance
Chief Advocacy and Communications
UNICEF Ukraine

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org  

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