SIERRA LEONE – Government of Sierra Leone has received vehicles including motorbikes and computers worth over US$2.8 million from the COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership, (CoVDP), for vaccine deployment.

CoVDP is a joint venture of the Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative (Gavi), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

These supplies are part of the technical and operational support which the country is receiving to help scale up COVID-19 vaccination and strengthen routine immunisation services across Sierra Leone.

“It is heart-warming to receive these items from the COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership, (CoVDP). Since COVID-19 Vaccination is a vital lifesaving tool in the fight against COVID-19, this move is a step in the right direction,” said Dr. Austin Demby, Minister of Health and Sanitation.

“As Sierra Leone has achieved over 70% of fully vaccinated individuals for COVID-19 vaccination, this donation will boost the country’s determination in making more gains in the integrated vaccination approach.”

The items were officially handed over to Dr. Austin Demby, Minister of Health and Sanitation in Freetown and they included two pick up vehicles, 250 motorbikes, six computers and accessories and 300 tablets with power banks.

In addition, 15 Peripheral Health Units (PHUs), and four District Vaccine Stores, will be connected to solar powered systems.

“Gavi is proud to work with our partners in continued support of Sierra Leone’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout,” said Dr Richard Mihigo, Director of COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery, Coordination and Integration at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

“These additional resources are vital investments that will further be strengthening the health system as a whole, supporting integration of COVID-19 vaccines into routine immunisation programs, and ensuring more children are protected against various vaccine-preventable diseases.”

These vehicles and equipment have come at a time when partners in Sierra Leone continue to support the Government’s efforts to strengthen the healthcare delivery system and improve child healthcare services including immunisation, which faced a temporary snag due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In collaboration with the Government of Sierra Leone, we will intensify efforts on the deployment of vaccines, strengthening of the cold chain system, community sensitization and engagement for increased uptake of immunization services,” said Dr Suleiman Braimoh, UNICEF Representative in Sierra Leone.

“This will help ensure that the COVID-19 vaccination is integrated into routine immunization services in 2023 and beyond to protect children from vaccine-preventable illnesses such as polio and measles.”

In addition to the items donated today, another consignment including two vehicles, one refrigerated van and 150 solar refrigerators, is expected to arrive in Sierra Leone by March 2023 for handover to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.          

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