The Japanese Government and UNICEF donate cold chain equipment to the Ministry of Health and Wellness

The Japanese Government and UNICEF donate cold chain equipment to the Ministry of Health and Wellness

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is now better equipped to store vaccines thanks to a donation from the Government of Japan and UNICEF. Yesterday, Kazuhiro Iryu, Ambassador of Japan to Belize, and Alison Parker, UNICEF Representative to Belize, handed over a cold chain machine to the ministry. The donation, which took place at the National Vaccine Storage Facility in Belmopan, was made possible through a grant of nine hundred thousand US dollars. The donation also includes ten Ice Line freezers, ten Main Powered Vaccine refrigerators, and thirty remote temperature monitoring systems. Minister of Health, Kevin Bernard, says the equipment will aid in enhancing the country’s health sector by improving the ministry’s ability to store and manage vaccines.

Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health and Wellness: “Belize received $1.8 million dollars as highlighted by Mrs.Parker, Belize dollars to cover the project’s cold chain equipment including the capacity building of healthcare workers in the management of the cold chain equipment deployed to primary care level health facilities within the public health sector. Through this grant aid one walk in cooler for the National Vaccine Storage facility was procured along with ice line refrigerators and freezers deployed to the districts and installed in fifteen urban and rural health facilities. Ten generators were obtained and installed and will ensure that these health facilities will reduce the risk of loss of vaccines due to unforeseen power outages. All the procured cold chain equipment units will have a remote temperature monitoring device with a built in alarm system when the temperature is outside of the recommended range. I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the important role played by healthcare workers from all sectors government and non governmental and private sectors in the protection of our children against vaccine preventable diseases.”

Ambassador of Japan to Belize, Kazuhiro Iryu, and Alison Parker, UNICEF Representative to Belize explained how the partnership was forged to tackle COVID-19 in Belize and Latin America. 

Alison Parker, UNICEF Representative to Belize: “It is very clear that Belize had attained very high levels in terms of immunization coverage, in terms of vaccination and in terms maternal and child mortality levels. However COVID19 as we are all aware poses a serious threat to it. There were significant drop in our immunization coverage from 95% that was full coverage and immunity for society to 60% for some of the antigens which outside of COVID posed a public health threat to young people and mothers. It is within this context that we forged the partnership first of all with MCH to have a clear discussion on where are the gaps and what supports can we bring to the table noting that the other contributing partners in the space. And I really want to thank the MCH team for being very open, available and being conducive for us to sit, identify and walk through those processes that are fundamental to sustain the gains that we have made.”

Kazuhiro Iryu, Ambassador of Japan to Belize: “The pandemic continues to present great challenge to the already strained healthcare system in Belize. That is why we have to remain vigilant and take precautionary measures to protect our health and our loved ones. Needless to say it is very important to ensure and promote equitable access to vaccines throughout the world in order to overcome the COVID19 pandemic. To assist in the efforts to tackle COVID19 the Government of Japan has made significant contributions to Latin America and the Caribbean including Belize of course through the  supply of vaccines to enhance vaccine capacity for an effective and inclusive COVID19 vaccination.”

In addition to the equipment, the ministry will receive a walk-in cooler that will arrive in the country later this month.

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