AFRICA—The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), in conjunction with the Mastercard Foundation, donated cutting-edge cold chain equipment to five  African Union Member States as part of the Saving Lives and Livelihoods program.

Botswana, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Zambia are among the first to benefit from the phase one investment in Cold Chain Equipment (CCE), which aims to benefit a total of 32 countries.

The equipment was purchased and distributed with the help of UNICEF, one of the initiative’s implementing partners.

The assistance corresponds with the Africa CDC’s mission of strengthening healthcare systems and improving responses to vaccine-preventable illnesses.

The total value of the equipment across the five member states is up to USD$3.3 million. It includes 465 refrigerators and freezers, 1,150 temperature monitors, 5,253 vaccine carriers and cold boxes, and 2 cold rooms.

 The technology is intended to efficiently handle vaccines and critical medical supplies, thus assisting in the expansion of COVID-19 vaccination and other initiatives, such as routine vaccination, which aims to ensure that safe and effective vaccines reach all children.

The Ministry of Health will be able to offer a more complete vaccination program and boost vaccine coverage rates by increasing cold chain storage capacity.

Cold Chain Equipment is critical for conserving vaccines and ensuring the efficacy of temperature sensitive medicinal supplies.

The inclusion of freezers and refrigerators allows member nations to keep a broader range of vaccines, including ones that require extremely low temperatures, such as COVID-19.

This development of cold chain storage is critical for pandemic preparedness and will allow member states to provide more extensive vaccination campaigns.

Cold boxes and vaccine carriers allow dependable transportation while preserving the necessary vaccine temperature, assuring vaccine efficacy and safety.

This feature broadens geographic coverage and adds to improved vaccination service delivery and health security in Africa by boosting Ministries of Health’s ability to manage vaccines and strengthen their cold chains.

Speaking at the event, H.E Dr. Jean Kaseya, Africa’s CDC Director General, emphasised the equipment’s significant benefits in decreasing vaccine waste caused by temperature variations.

 He went on to note that this optimization enables Ministries of Health to better devote healthcare finances and resources to other essential areas of healthcare, and that the availability of CCE facilitates widespread immunization activities in remote and underserved populations.

According to him, this leads to higher vaccine coverage rates, a reduced prevalence of vaccine-preventable diseases such as COVID-19, and improved health security in Africa, all of which contribute to global health security.

During the handover event in Zambia, the Honorable Sylvia Masebo, Minister of Health of the Republic of Zambia, stated that Africa’s CDC support coincides with Zambia’s goals of having easily available life-saving vaccines and increased cold chain capabilities.

She went on to say that the Ministry will seek new equipment to expand on the progress made in incorporating COVID-19 vaccinations into primary healthcare services.

The Africa CDC, Mastercard Foundation, and UNICEF believe that these CCEs will be successfully installed and used in healthcare facilities, positively stimulating and improving the Member States’ healthcare landscapes.

With this assistance, the Ministries of Health are better positioned to respond to public health emergencies and ensure equal access to immunizations and treatments.

The Africa CDC and the Mastercard Foundation’s contribution reflects their commitment to enhancing African healthcare systems.

It emphasizes the need to work together to address global health concerns and ensure vaccine fairness in Africa.

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