Japan donates cold chain

The Japanese government fulfilled its commitment to PNG through UNICEF to promote vaccination, by providing cold chain equipment to assist in the delivery of COVID-19 vaccination in the country.

The cold chain equipment were delivered to the Department of Health yesterday at the Health Facility Standard Branch in NCD.

‘”The cold chain equipment come under an agreement signed in March between the Japanese Government and UNICEF to extend an Emergency Grant Aid of approximately 3 million US dollars or equivalent 324 million Japanese Yen,” said Shinichi Maruo – Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of Japan.

The package of cooperation includes 84 ‘cold boxes, which make possible for the storage of vaccines for longer period, 500 user-programmable data loggers, which are temperature sensors with blue tooth connection to send data in the storage to PCs and 300 mobile tablets.

Today we have cold boxes and mobile tablets, 84 cold boxes and 300 mobile tablets will be handed over to Department of Health but the 500 sensors will arrive later,” said Shinichi. 

He added that the latest addition to the number of COVID-19 cases in PNG bringing the total cases to 17,774, and that these statistics show that infection continues to spread in PNG.

“I believe that vaccination is the key to further preventing the spread of COVID0-19 even for Delta variant as well and therefore it is also necessary to secure the logistical aspect to ensure PNG’s efforts in vaccination roll-out exercise since this May will be successful,” Shinichi said.

UNICEF Country Rep, Dr. Claudes Kamenga said Cold Chain equipment is a critical and essential element of the immunization services that allows for the safe storage of vaccines to maintain the quality effectiveness and ensure optimal performance.

“The latest nationwide cold chain equipment inventory indicated that per cent of the cold chain system in PNG was fragile and needed to be rehabilitated. Through the generous support provided by GAVI, DFAT, Oil Search Foundation and the Government of japan, with technical assistance from WHO and UNICEF, the government is working hard to effectively strengthen the cold chain system and dispensable post immunization coverage in the country,” Dr. Claudes Kamengo said.

Dr. Osborne Liko, Secretary for health said the cold chain equipment will also help store COVID-19 vaccines.

The cold boxes have the capacity to hold the vaccines for up to 35 days at a temperature level of 1 to 2 degrees. The current cold chain boxes are able to hold vaccines for only 7 days.

Frieda Kana