The United Nations Children’s Fund and the World Health Organization are set to donate typhoon-and earthquake-resistant vaccines and immunization equipment in an effort to ensure the cold chain storage management of vaccines in Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan)-affected areas.
The WHO, UNICEF, and the Department of Health (DOH) plan to establish the cold chain storage system first in Tacloban City, one of areas hit hardest by Yolanda, and then expand the program across typhoon devastated communities.
Equipment used to maintain the cold chain, a temperature-controlled system essential to retain the protective ability of vaccines and immunizing agents, will be donated to 450 DOH health care facilities.
These include 5,000 temperature-monitoring devices, 4,000 vaccine carriers, 800 cold boxes, 400 back-up generator systems,150 ice-lined refrigerators, 50 solar-powered refrigerators and 200 Sure Chill freezers, which allows the facilities to operate for more than ten days without electricity.
Also 16 walk-in cold rooms for vaccine storage will be constructed at the regional and provincial levels, where three million doses of measles/rubella and oral polio vaccines will be stored.
WHO, together with UNICEF, also trained health workers to improve vaccine and cold chain management.
WHO already delivered 16 solar-powered vaccine refrigerators in Leyte to enable autonomous storage of vaccine stock replenishment from the DOH’s warehouses within the third week of the Yolanda crisis.
WHO also provided a million doses of measles/rubella vaccine for the DOH program, along with AD mixing syringes and safety boxes, and two domestic refrigerators for use in Tacloban.
Cold chain equipment were also brought to earthquake-stricken Bohol.
Still in the pipeline from WHO are 66 ice-pack freezers, 4,500 safety boxes, 88 cold boxes, 300 vaccine carriers, measles/rubella test kits and laboratory equipment, and temperature monitoring devices.
“The objective is to build capacity, reduce risks and increase resilience so all children can thrive today and stay confident for the future,” said Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Philippines Representative, in a press release.
Source: GMA News