Africa CDC gives Zambia cold chain equipment for vaccine storage-Xinhua

Africa CDC gives Zambia cold chain equipment for vaccine storage

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-02-09 00:11:01

LUSAKA, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) on Thursday handed over various cold chain equipment to the Zambian government aimed at helping the country store vaccines safely.

The equipment, valued at 880,825.81 U.S. dollars, includes six voltage stabilizers, 43 freezers, 35 vaccine refrigerators, 70 solar-powered fridges and various spare parts, and has been donated in collaboration with United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and Mastercard Foundation.

Lul Pout Riek, the Africa CDC Southern Africa regional director, handed over the equipment to Zambian Minister of Health Sylvia Masebo during a ceremony.

In his remarks, the Africa CDC representative said the equipment will go a long way in helping Zambia with its storage of vaccines.

"This investment will be considered worthwhile only if the equipment is efficiently utilized for the intended purpose and reaching that last child with life-saving vaccines," he said.

He, however, expressed concern that Africa was still importing 99 percent of vaccines as well as over 90 percent of medicines and medical devices from outside, adding that this must change in order to improve the health security of the continent.

He further said the Africa CDC has also procured infection and prevention medical supplies of over 300,000 dollars for Zambia, which will soon be arriving in the country.

On her part, Masebo thanked the Africa CDC for the equipment, saying the donation was part of the Africa CDC Covax initiative, which aligns with the government's desire to have availability of life-saving vaccines and strengthen cold chain capacity.

"The ministry will continue to acquire additional equipment to consolidate the gains we made in the last two years while implementing the integration of COVID-19 vaccines into primary healthcare services," she said.

The equipment, she said, will play a crucial role in preserving the integrity and quality of medical supplies and ensure that temperature-sensitive medical supplies remain viable, potent, and safe for use.

She said one of the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic was the need to invest in fixed medical equipment, medicines, and supplies to effectively reduce spread, mitigate impact, and prevent future disease outbreaks.

According to her, the government will continue to navigate the complexities of a rapidly evolving world by investing in and prioritizing the development of cold chain infrastructure.

Henri Heikura, the UNICEF deputy representative in Zambia, said the equipment will strengthen the response to emergencies and improve access to routine immunization services.

He said the equipment is also to ensure the delivery of high-quality immunization services critical during outbreak responses.