The Japanese Government through its partnership with UNICEF has provided crucial cold chain equipment to boost Zimbabwe’s capacity to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
The equipment, which includes 70 iced lined vaccine fridges, 80 solar direct drive fridges, 130 standard cold boxes, and 499 vaccines carriers, will support the Ministry of Health and Child Care to strengthen its COVID-19 vaccination programme, and ultimately support other routine and campaign immunization programmes around the country.
“The cold chain equipment will be put to good use to store vaccines at the right temperature. This supports our goal to reach all people with vaccines for COVID-19 and we will be forever grateful and continue strengthening our mutual ties,” said Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr John Mangwiro.
The Equipment is expected to cover 63 districts, 200 health centres, and approximately 10 million people will be reached indirectly. The Japanese Government will also support the capacity building of cold chain technicians and health facility staff to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills for long-term use of the equipment.
“This project aims to reinforce the country’s cold chain system and provide “Last One Mile Support” for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to all corners of the country. I hope that it will also make the health system more resilient so that people and their communities will be protected from all vaccine-preventable diseases in the future,” said the Ambassador of Japan to Zimbabwe, H.E. Mr Satoshi Tanaka.
The procurement of the equipment came after analysis was conducted in 2020 to identify Cold Chain Equipment (CCE) to strengthen health systems for the COVID-19 vaccine introduction. The analysis identified gaps at provincial, district, and service delivery points.
“With the ongoing commitment of the Government, the solid availability of vaccine doses, and the support of stakeholders such as the Government of Japan, and other development partners in Health – Zimbabwe will demonstrate what it takes to achieve the targeted immunity against COVID-19,” said UNICEF Representative, Dr Tajudeen Oyewale.
Over the years, Japan has provided support to the Government of Zimbabwe in a number of
humanitarian emergencies, including its ongoing support for UNICEF’s multi-sectoral response action to address the direct impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Zimbabwe.