UNICEF donates solar fridges, COVID vaccine carriers to Guyana
UNICEF today handed over two solar fridges and 50 vaccine carriers to the Ministry of Health which will support the ministry’s Expanded Programme of Immunization and strengthen its cold chain capacity. The solar fridges will be deployed to regions Seven and Eight and the vaccine carriers will be distributed to all administrative regions. Nicolas Pron, UNICEF Representative, handed over the equipment to Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony.
“They are primarily for the COVID-19 vaccine but they are also for the sustainability of the Expanded Programme of Immunization,” said Pron. “Immunization is one of the most cost-effective, sustainable, public investment one country can make to save the lives of many children and of course the goal here is save the lives of all children in Guyana and their relatives in the fight against COVID-19.”
In welcoming the donation, Minister Anthony said that it comes at an opportune time as Guyana’s National COVID-19 Vaccine Taskforce is examining the options for vaccines and preparations are ongoing to prepare for the roll out of the programme. “This has been a very timely donation because once we start doing that, we will be able to utilize these pieces of equipment to administer the vaccine,” said the minister.
He added that UNICEF has been an integral partner in the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The work that you have funded here and have done here is already helping us to make sure that we respond more appropriately to COVID-19 in Guyana,” said Minister Anthony. Noting UNICEF’s vast experience with vaccination and immunization, the minister said that outside of COVID-19, there are plans to examine other areas where UNICEF can assist, and the ministry is looking forward to working with UNICEF.
Provision of the equipment followed a request from the health ministry. The solar direct drive fridges each have a 99-liter storage capacity. Solar Direct Drive refrigeration systems are a new generation of solar powered refrigeration systems and do not require a battery to store energy. The vaccine carriers, meanwhile, can keep vaccines at the correct temperature for over 40 hours while travelling.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF has partnered with national authorities on the response to the crisis. Initiatives included surveys to understand the situation, monitor the behavior change continuum and make evidence informed interventions, communication and public awareness campaigns, provision of PPE kits for frontline workers, support to ensure continuity of learning, as well as support to ensure that services for children continue, among others. (UNICEF Guyana Press Release)