Japan Finances Vaccine Cold Chain Delivery in Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA – The Government of Japan provided on Wednesday a new Emergency Grant of 1.45 million US dollars to improve the vaccine cold chain in Ethiopia.

The finance will be availed through the government of Japan’s partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund or Unicef.

This funding aims to deliver vaccines nationwide in Ethiopia through the procurement of cold chain equipment (CCE) including medical equipment, according to the Japanese embassy in Addis Ababa.

The medical equipment to be procured through the grant includes cold-storage facilities and their transportation, as “Last Mile Support”.

This will complement the efforts of the COVAX Facility, according to Unicef. Ethiopia is currently administrating the COVID-19 vaccine after receiving 2.184 million doses of the Astra Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine via the Facility.

In addition, the finance will strengthen the capacity of Ethiopia to address the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of achieving Universal Health Coverage through the procurement of CCE and strengthening institutional capacity to manage the CCE for the smooth roll out of the COVID-19 vaccines.

“Through this contribution, it is expected that 138 health facilities will have new or functional CCE in place to meet the requirements for the COVID-19 vaccine as well as other vaccines,” said Unicef and the embassy in a joint statement.

About 230 mid-level cold chain technicians and 420 healthcare facility staff will be trained on the operation and maintenance of new CCE and on the use and monitoring of the vaccines.

An estimated 3 million people will benefit from this contribution, according to their statement.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the international community has been facing a common challenge of ensuring equitable global access and accelerating the rollout of vaccines towards the common goal of containing the coronavirus.

Accordingly, the Government of Japan has directly supported, with a contribution of US$ 200 million, the establishment of the COVAX facility, an international mechanism for the procurement of vaccines, of which UNICEF is a major partner globally.

Featured Image:  Woman holds vials labeled “COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine” over dry ice in this illustration taken, on December 5, 2020. [Photo: File/UNEP/Illustration]