The Ministry of Health today (24) received walk-in cold rooms and nutrition supplies procured by UNICEF funded by the Government of Japan to continue to improve the health of all children.
The cold chain items handed over today are 13 walk-in cold rooms—huge refrigerators capable of safely holding large stocks of highly temperature-sensitive vaccines. The equipment has been installed in Colombo and at Regional Medical Supply Divisions in Gampaha, Kaluthara, Galle, Kandy, Kegalle, Anuradhapura, Rathnapura and Badulla districts.
This latest batch of equipment is part of a total contribution of US$ 3 million for several cold chain equipment, including portable vaccine carriers and temperature monitors that were already provided to the Ministry of Health in 2021. The equipment will boost the immunization system, ensuring proper and safe storage of vaccines and availability where they are needed.
In addition, nutrition supplies were also handed over. The supplies are part of a recent contribution of US$ 500,000 to procure micronutrients urgently needed to care for children, carry out screening and provide the necessary follow-up, including counseling for malnutrition.
Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka Mizokoshi Hideaki said, “It is our honour to provide Walk-in Cold Rooms as part of the “Last One Mile Support” by Japan to ensure equitable access of immunization services for all people in need across the island. We hope this equipment will improve the storage and transportation capacity of various maternal and child health vaccines including COVID-19 and help strengthen Sri Lanka’s healthcare system amid the prevailing economic crisis. The nutritional package will contribute to alleviating the lack of access to stable nutrition that many children are facing due to the rapid price hike and shortages of imported commodities under the economic crisis. We hope that nutrition supplies and high-quality counselling care will provide some relief for children with acute malnutrition.”
“The benefits of investing in immunization are obvious, especially for children. This equipment will help to advance Sri Lanka’s great efforts in routine immunization services, including the ability to respond to other vaccine-preventable emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic”, said Christian Skoog, Representative, UNICEF Sri Lanka. “In regard to malnutrition, it is a condition that can be prevented and treated, and the supplies being handed over today are to help our joint efforts to meet the needs of children”, he added
The Government of Japan has made significant contribution to support the joint efforts of UNICEF and the Ministry of Health in addressing both the long- and short-term health needs of children.