Government through the Ministry of Health has dispatched an assortment of cold chain equipment that will address storage capacity gaps as well as replace obsolete equipment in different health facilities.
The cold chain equipment including fridges, freezers, cold boxes and carriers were procured with support from Gavi, the vaccine alliance.
A total expenditure of USD 10.4 million will be used to fund this grant of which US$ 8.3 million will be provided by Gavi and US$ 2.1 million by government of Uganda.
The first year of the Cold Chain Equipment Optimization Platform (CCEOP) project, launched yesterday, amounts to US$ 2.5 million (Shs 9.3bn) while second year will cost US$ 5.8 million (Shs 21.8bn).
Procurement of the first batch of the equipment followed a submission of a 5-year CCEOP support application to Gavi by Ministry of Health together with its partners including WHO, UNICEF, CHAI, PATH which was approved in March 2017.
The Minister of Health Minister, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng who presided over the launch on Tuesday said that health facilities to benefit from this program are those with low access to immunization services, newly established facilities and those in hard to reach areas.
In the first phase of the distribution, 608 pieces of equipment will be installed by end of October.
“In year two, we expect to deploy up to 2,500 fridges and freezers, for which a deployment plan is being developed currently,” the Minister said.
Orientation training of Central, Regional and selected district cold chain technician teams was completed on Monday.
The Minister appealed to the facilities and districts that are yet to receive the equipment to use it effectively.
“Make use of them to increase vaccination coverage in your districts in order to avoid epidemics of vaccine preventable diseases,” she said.
“The Ministry received reports of some miss use and theft of EPI items. We have made efforts to add new feature of these pieces of equipment that should help districts optimize their use and keep them safe,” she added.
The equipment include Oxytocin boxes to help improve maternal survival, Manufacturer Coded equipment and Solar panels.
Dr Aceng launded Gavi as well as development partners for its continued support to the children of Uganda.