The United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said Friday it had received more than 1 million U.S. dollars in donations to improve cold chain management and support the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in South Sudan.
Hamida Lasseko, UNICEF representative in South Sudan, said the contribution from the Japanese government will help South Sudan in its COVID-19 vaccination efforts by improving the vaccine and cold chain management through enhanced infrastructure, storage, transportation, and training for healthcare staff.
“Cold chain capabilities are essential for storing and transporting vaccines which need to be kept at cool temperatures to remain effective, including the COVID-19 vaccines,” said Lasseko in a statement issued in Juba.
She said one freezer room will be procured and installed for use at the National Vaccine Store for storage of vaccines and COVID-19 reagents requiring sub-zero temperature.
The funding will be used to equip the cold rooms and vaccine refrigerators in the states with programmable remote temperature monitoring devices, and support procurement and installation of 500 refrigerators to be deployed throughout the country, according to Lasseko.
“I hope that this emergency grant, together with the previous year’s assistance, contributes to delivering necessary medical services including vaccines to every person in the country with a view to containing COVID-19 as quickly as possible, which accordingly saves more lives,” Lasseko said.
South Sudan has so far recorded a total of 10,628 COVID-19 confirmed cases, with 10,312 recoveries and 115 deaths.
The country’s Ministry of Health began the vaccination exercise on April 6, targeting frontline health workers and the elderly after receiving the first batch of 132,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine which arrived in Juba on March 25. And the ministry said on May 2 that more than 4,000 people have been vaccinated amid plans to vaccinate about 27,000 health workers. Enditem