By Nyasha Mutena
The Government of Japan has availed to Zimbabwe, funds to assist with safe transportation and proper storage of COVID-19 vaccines.
This funding seeks to assist the Government’s capacity to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. This shall witness 10 provincial centres and 50 district centres receiving new cold chain equipment. 97 health centres can look forward to new Solar Direct Drive refrigerators, 500 vaccine carriers and the supply of new cold boxes to over 130 health centres.
The grant is a continuation of Japan’s support towards UNICEF’s multi-sectoral response action to address the direct impact of the pandemic in Zimbabwe.
Through an official statement, Ambassador of Japan to Zimbabwe, H.E. Mr Satoshi Tanaka said;
“Providing equitable access to vaccines is key to addressing COVID-19. This grant from the people of Japan will help to ensure that the vaccines can reach each and every person in all corners of Zimbabwe as soon as possible, thus helping to contain the pandemic. In this regard, Japan is grateful to rely on the skills and expertise of UNICEF.”
Through this programme, 180 health care facility staff in all 63 districts in the management of the vaccine cold chain will be trained whilst 8 Provincial Cold Chain Technicians will be trained in maintenance and repair of the specialized equipment.
Furthermore, the funds will go to the development of the One Cold Chain Management Strategy and its incorporation into the broader Immunization Supply Chain Strategy. To this effect, coordination, data collection and policy formulation consultations will be held to update the 11 Provincial Cold Chain Maintenance Plans.
“UNICEF is grateful to the Government of Japan for its support in ensuring a robust cold chain is in place and immunization services are strengthened in Zimbabwe,” said Dr Tajudeen Oyewale, UNICEF Representative in Zimbabwe.
“The availability and equitable distribution of vaccines is critical for putting an end to this global pandemic, and for the protection of children from childhood illnesses. The funds provided will be invaluable in helping us to continue supporting the Government with the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines while strengthening the health system,” he said.