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Multimillion-dollar cold chain investment to boost vaccine roll-out in SA

As South Africa ramps up its Covid-19 vaccination driveThe Ministry of Health and mobile operator Vodacom have announced the purchase of new cold chain equipment worth several million Rand.

The cold chain equipment expected to boost the storage of Covid-19 vaccines is currently being distributed across the country.

The initiative follows €4.2 million (R74 million) donation by Vodacom Group and Vodafone Foundation to purchase cold chain equipment to ensure Covid-19 vaccines and other life-saving medicines are safely delivered to several countries in South Africa. the Sahara.

Also read: Short shelf-life sees poor countries refuse millions of Covid shots – UN

Vaccine storage is a challenge for several countries on the African continent.

A recent survey of 34 African countries by the African Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO) found that in 31% of countries, more than 50% of districts have cold chain capacity issues that significantly hamper vaccine deployment.

Minister of Health Dr. Joe Phaahla said partnerships with the private sector play an important role in helping vaccine rollouts.

“As a government, we appreciate the continued support from business since the outbreak of the pandemic, and we believe this huge contribution from Vodacom will go a long way in protecting vaccines from preventable loss. However, we now need to step up the demand creation for vaccines to ensure that our people continue to come forward in numbers to vaccinate and get booster shots so that the country can achieve population immunity.

Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub said they are delighted to be working closely with the Ministry of Health to support the vaccine rollout program so that much-needed Covid-19 vaccines reach vulnerable and hard-to-reach communities.

“In addition, the cold chain equipment, including freezers, refrigerators, ice boxes and couriers, can also help the government after the Covid-19 pandemic and aid in the storage and distribution of other life-saving vaccines, including vaccines used for childhood immunizations. †

Procurement of the life-saving equipment was managed by the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), which was established by the African Union as part of the support of the Africa Vaccine Strategy.

The health ministry said it is spearheading the distribution of cold chain equipment across the country, including shipping to remote areas that lack the infrastructure needed for comprehensive vaccine cooling.

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