Japan hands over cold chain equipment to strengthen vaccine delivery in Zambia
LUSAKA, Zambia, 4 March 2022 – The Government of Japan, under an emergency partnership with UNICEF, has officially handed over cold chain equipment which will strengthen the long-term capacity of the health system in Zambia, including the delivery of life-saving vaccines for COVID-19.
In total, the support includes 82 solar-powered fridge-freezers (5 x 70 litre, 14 x 35 litre, 63 x 16 litre), 25 ‘on-grid’ combo vaccine freezers, 120 large vaccine cold boxes and 200 vaccine carriers, some of which are already in use.
“This gesture will primarily benefit the children who are the direct beneficiaries of most immunisation services in Zambia as it will strengthen district and health facility capacity to deliver quality immunisation by bringing services closer to the community,” said the Permanent Secretary-Administration, Dr George Magwende at the handover event.
At a ceremony at the Child Health National Vaccination Store, the Ambassador of Japan to Zambia, H.E. Mr. Mizuuchi Ryuta, joined the Permanent Secretary and the UNICEF Representative to officially hand over the bulk of the supplies for delivery to provinces across the country.
“Japan is supporting Zambia and other African countries in their fight against COVID-19 through, inter alia, the supply of vaccines via the COVAX facility and the establishment of cold chains. I hope the delivery of relevant equipment this time will accelerate the efforts by the Zambian Government to achieve its goal of 70% of eligible population fully vaccinated. As always, the cooperation by population and community plays a vital role to protect themselves and the loved ones, which I hope, will be practiced with the support of wide range of stakeholders across the country,” said H.E. Mr. MIZUUCHI Ryuta, Ambassador of Japan in Zambia.
The Government of Japan has already contributed more than $200 million to the global COVAX Facility, an international mechanism led by Gavi, CEPI, the World Health Organisation and UNICEF to ensure and accelerate equitable access to vaccines across the developing world. In addition, on 2 June 2021, the Government of Japan co-hosted the COVAX AMC Summit and announced an additional contribution of USD 800 million, bringing the total contribution of USD 1 billion to the COVAX AMC.
“To get the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines to people across Zambia, there needs to be a strong cold chain system so that doses can be safely stored and be made available to all those waiting to be vaccinated,” said Ms Noala Skinner, UNICEF Representative. “This generous support from the Government of Japan will have a lasting impact not just for the COVID-19 response, but the wider health system.”
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 Zambia, visit www.unicef.org/zambia.