The nation’s vaccination drive has received a major boost with the procurement of 2,343 immunization cold chain equipment comprising of solar vaccine fridges and freezers to be installed in health facilities across the country between now and the end of this year.
For a total cost of US$4,737,080, the equipment, which were procured with funds from the Government of Ghana and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) have been handed over to DENG Limited, the institution mandated to install and maintain the fridges and freezers through the Cold Chain Equipment Optimization Platform (CCEOP) project.
Immunization has been identified as one of the key interventions in global health to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Immunization has a crucial role in achieving 14 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Ghana’s immunization coverage stands at 91.1 percent therefore the need to improve on it and sustain the gains.
It is the expectation of the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang Manu that these Cold Chain equipment will deliver effective immunization which is one of the most far reaching health intervention that closely reflects the ethos of the SDG’s: ‘Leaving no one behind’.
Reading a speech on behalf of the Minister, the Director of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye said: “I have received several complaints about shortage of immunizations cold chain equipment which was affecting effective immunization service delivery.
In 2018, the Ministry of Health, with support from UNICEF, decided to conduct a comprehensive immunization cold chain equipment inventory to understand the extent of the gaps, identify which health facilities have the gaps and to support evidence driven approach to address the problem.
In January 2020, during my field visit to the Bono Region to interact with the Regional Health Authorities and Development Partners who were responding to the Polio outbreak, the health workers again made a passionate appeal to me to the Government to address the immunization cold chain challenges to make their work easier.
I am happy to announce that the Ministry of Health has procured 2,343 immunization cold chain equipment (Vaccine fridges, Freezers with their thermometers) to be installed in health facilities between now and the end of this year.”
He explained that: “The first two shipments have already been cleared and delivered to DENG Limited to start the installation and the last shipment will arrive soon. These include solar powered equipment and solar panels for some of our Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compounds that are not yet connected to the national grid.
DENG Limited will also provide maintenance services of these equipment for two years and build the capacity of our clinical engineering staff to take over the maintenance after this period. In addition to the CCEOP, the Government has procured about 15,000 vaccine carriers to support immunization services.”
The minister noted that: “Even though we are all much focused on COVID-19, I will like to remind all Regional Directors and District Directors of health as well as health facility managers to ensure that other essential services such as maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition and emergency services are delivered without interruptions.
We must continue to intensify health promotion, disease prevention and surveillance to prevent the resurgence of other diseases at our blind side. It’s in this regards that I entreat all Regional Directors, District Directors and health facility managers to ensure that health facilities that are captured on the Operational Deployment Plan (ODP) of the CCEOP are ready to receive the equipment and take good care of them.”