Islamabad : Cold chain optimisation equipment worth $6.59 million funded by the Government of Japan and procured through the United Nations Children’s Fund for enhancing national capacity to...
Islamabad : Cold chain optimisation equipment worth $6.59 million funded by the Government of Japan and procured through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for enhancing national capacity to store COVID-19, was handed over to Pakistan here Wednesday.
The Parliamentary Secretary on Health, Dr. Nausheen Hamid, received the equipment from the Ambassador of Japan, Matsuda Kuninori, in presence of the UNICEF Representative in Pakistan, Aida Girma, at a ceremony held in the National Emergency Operation Centre, Expanded Programme for Immunization (EPI).
The equipment procured through funds from Japan includes power generators, voltage regulators and temperature monitoring devices which will enhance vaccine storage capacity of EPI, especially at the provincial and district levels where power outage and voltage fluctuation is frequent. The new equipment would help to ensure optimum temperature control at storage facilities, thus maintaining the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Japanese funds will also be used for strengthening the capacity of health care staff to handle the cold chain equipment.
“We greatly value the significant contributions made by Japan during the last 70 years of its diplomatic relations with Pakistan,” said Dr. Nausheen. “Over the years, our two countries have partnered in various sectors including health, education, power and many other. I affirm our strong desire to further deepen and broaden our bilateral ties with Japan.”
“The Expanded Programme for Immunisation in Pakistan has a strong cold chain system that is considered the backbone of the programme as it handles and stores massive quantities of vaccines inclusive of all kinds of COVID-19 vaccines. It is, however, important to know that the cold chain system can be risky in countries which have extreme temperatures and where power supply is unreliable. I am grateful to the Government of Japan for providing this cold chain optimization equipment for vaccine storage and ensuring quality check as it would definitely strengthen our existing system,” Dr. Nausheen added.
Japan has extended a total of $23.5 million grant assistance to Pakistan for its counter-COVID-19 measures including provision of hygiene items, medical equipment, and training of health care staff.
Speaking at the event, Ambassador Matsuda stressed that Japan has prioritized the health sector as part of its development cooperation policy for Pakistan for decades, including Maternal and Child Health, Polio Eradication, Routine Immunization and Counter-COVID-19 measures.