The Japanese government has promised to offer $39 million to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), as emergency funds to help construct COVID-19 vaccine cold chains in Nigeria and 31 other countries affected by the pandemic in Africa and Latin America.
A statement made available to newsmen on Monday in Abuja, states that the support from the Government of Japan complements the work of the COVAX Facility, an international vaccine procurement mechanism, which was working to ensure people in all countries have quick and equitable access to vaccines.
The UN body pledged to work with governments of benefitting countries to provide cold chain equipment in priority storage sites based on gap analyses, to improve storage capacity for vaccines and facilitate monitoring of the vaccine potency.
UNICEF Representative and Officer in Charge in Nigeria, Rushnan Murtaza, who welcomed the generous support of Japan to Nigeria, said it would have a far-reaching impact on the overall goal of the COVID-19 prevention strategy in the country through vaccination, as well as the entire immunisation programme for child survival.
“A walk-in freezer room will be installed in each of the selected six states. This includes solar vaccine refrigerators to be installed in 175 wards that have a gap in vaccine storage capacity.
“Temperature monitoring devices will be installed across 18 state cold stores, and technical assistance will be provided to carry out the setting up and maintenance of the equipment and devices. These supplies will ensure the quality of the vaccines.”