UNICEF Hands Over Cold Chain Equipment to Ministry of Health
In partnership with the German Development Bank (KfW) and Embassy of Germany, UNICEF handed over Cold Chain Equipment for a total value of US$ 2.4 million
LUSAKA, Zambia, 7 February 2023 – UNICEF, in partnership with the German Development Bank (KfW) and Embassy of Germany, today handed over Cold Chain Equipment for a total value of US$ 2.4 million to the Ministry of Health at a ceremony held at the Child Health Unit in Lusaka and officiated by the Minister of Health, Hon. Sylvia T. Masebo, MP.
“The Government of the Republic of Zambia in its new dispensation and governance, places great premium on immunization as one of the key components of Primary Health Care which is an approach that is envisaged to drive the country’s aspiration for the attainment of Universal Health Coverage” said Minister of Health, Hon. Sylvia Masebo, “I therefore wish to express my profound gratitude to the Government of Germany, through German Development Bank (KfW) for partnering with UNICEF and the Zambian Government to implement the health sector related pillars of the multi-sectoral COVID-19 response plan.”
The consignment consists of 287 vaccine freezers and refrigerators, including 235 Solar Direct Drive (SDD) refrigerators with spare parts, and 52 vaccine freezers. It further contains 1,250 cold boxes and 2,600 vaccine carriers.
The equipment has been procured through a larger grant from the Government of Germany, which has also contributed to Risk Communication and Community Engagement interventions, among other efforts, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has resulted in improved vaccine uptake from the public both of first and booster doses of the vaccine.
“Zambia has been undertaking an unprecedented drive of accelerated roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme. The results achieved to date are very impressive and commendable: a vaccination coverage reaching almost 80 per cent according to national statistics. The funding from Germany, amounting to EUR 5 million, under our "last mile initiative", will further boost Zambia’s health system capacity, contributing to saving lives, livelihoods, and hence protecting the economy,” stated the German Ambassador to Zambia, Ms. Anne Wagner Mitchell.
“The cold chain equipment handed over today is not only an emergency response but also an investment into the future: It will enhance future pandemic preparedness and will contribute to strengthening the Zambian healthcare system, by fostering the cold chain logistic for routine immunizations,” added Dr. Thomas Duve, KfW Regional Director for Southern Africa.
The cold chain equipment expands 20,000 litres of vaccine storage, distribution, and continuous temperature monitoring. It also contributes to improved immunisation by managing and optimising vaccine delivery and storage, whilst safeguarding vaccine potency.
“This support is critical to upgrading Zambia’s cold chain system, so that vaccines are continuously stored in the temperature range they need – from the time they are manufactured until the moment they go into someone’s arm,” said UNICEF Zambia Country Representative a.i. Benjamin Meyer. “This is vital for COVID-19 vaccines, but it also contributes to the long-term system strengthening efforts for cold chain in Zambia including the regular routine childhood immunisation programmes, and campaigns against other diseases like polio and measles.”
Zambia is among a small number of countries in Africa that has been able to sustain the continuity of routine immunisation and other essential public health services, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health and other services nationwide. This has been made possible through generous funding from cooperating partners.
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.