Children in Solomon Islands will benefit from a Cold Room facility that preserves the quality, potency and safety of vaccines. Vaccines need to be stored at a temperature of 0-8 degrees to keep them usable. A Cold Chain is the storage system that is used to do just that and today, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) handed over an essential storage facility that is a key link in the Cold Chain.
In presenting the facility to the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, UNICEF Pacific Representative, Dr. Karen Allen said “Immunisation is one of the most important and cost-effective public health interventions that protect children from illness and disability. This facility which was jointly procured with funding from New Zealand (Cold Room) and the Government of Australia (Stabilizer) will help strengthen the storage capacity of vaccines in Solomon Islands.”
“At present the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) is offering the following vaccines in the country : BCG (for tuberculosis), Polio, Hepatitis B and Measles-Rubella,” she added. “Next year we hope to add pneumococcal”.
Dr. Allen congratulated the Government of Solomon Islands for the implementation of a vaccine management plan and their dedication to immunise at least 95% of children under-one year of age. This Cold Chain should help in reaching that target; and now we will work together to strengthen the chain to the outermost islands.
Since her arrival on Monday, she has visited schools, clinics and hospitals. Her credentials were also presented to the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Honourable. Ricky Hou.