Cameroon: Vaccine Storage - Government to Acquire Over 3,000 Fridges, Deep Freezers

The project worth more than 6.3 billion FCFA is to last five years, beginning in 2019.

As part of efforts to improve vaccination cover by boosting vaccine storage capacity,the Cameroon government and partners will as from 2019 embark on a massive acquisition of more than 3,000 refrigerators and deep freezers worth more than 11 million US dollars (6.3 billion FCFA).

The hint was dropped in Bertoua on November 29, 2018 by Dr Nkengue Pouth Christine,Coordinator of the Expanded Programme on Immunisation, EPI, East Region, who is also Head of Bertoua Health District. She was addressing a group of journalists on a trip to evaluate the state of vaccination in the region. Of the quantity, Dr Nkengue said East Region will receive 84 brand new solar power refrigerators. Covering a whopping109,002 square kilometres, the East Region has 224 vaccination centres, but only about half have functional refrigerators for storing vaccines, she disclosed. Sources in the Expanded Programme on Immunization head office in Yaounde said all10 regions are to receive their consignments from the over 3,000 solar and electricity-powered refrigerators and deep freezers to beacquired. Improving vaccine storage capacity is the responsibility of the Ministry of Public Health, MINSANTE, supported by partners, the source said. "For the portion financed by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization or GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance),50 per cent of the cost will be borneby MINSANTE. The remaining 50 per centwill be co-financed by GAVI, the United NationsChildren's Fund, UNICEF, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, CHAI, and other partners," our source added.

According to Dr Nkengue, challenges facing EPI in the East Region include frequent mass movements by refugees between the Central African Republic and Cameroon, and insufficient resources to reach out to unvaccinated children. She deplored the 11 per cent current rate of abandonment of routine vaccination of babies in the region, saying it was well above the 7 per cent national figure.

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