Fiona Ruzha, Health Reporter
The Government of Japan has extended its support to the COVID-19 response through its partnership with UNICEF, by improving the Covid-19 vaccines cold chain – ensuring crucial vaccines can be adequately transported and stored.
This funding aims to assist the government’s capacity to manage the Covid-19 pandemic.
The support from Japan includes procurement of cold chain equipment as well as strengthening health facility capacity to manage the equipment for a smoother roll out of the Covid-19 vaccines.
In a statement, the Ambassador of Japan to Zimbabwe, His Excellence Satoshi Tanaka said this initiative aims to ensure that everyone access the vaccine anywhere.
“Providing equitable access to vaccines is key to addressing Covid-19.
“This grant from the people of Japan will help to ensure that the vaccines can reach each and every person in all corners of Zimbabwe as soon as possible, thus helping to contain the pandemic.
“In this regard, Japan is grateful to rely on the skills and expertise of UNICEF,” he said.
The programme is facilitating the training of 180 health care facility staff in all 63 districts in the management of the vaccine cold chain.
In addition, eight Provincial Cold Chain Technicians will be trained in the maintenance and repair of the specialized equipment.
It is expected that ten provincial centres and 50 district centres will receive new cold chain equipment.
In addition, 97 health centres can look forward to new Solar Direct Drive refrigerators, 500 vaccine carriers and new cold boxes will be supplied to over 130 health centres.
Zimbabwe began its COVID-19 vaccine campaign in February, starting with prioritized categories of people such as teachers and frontline workers and is now open to everybody.