Monday, September 5, 2016

Building the cold chain in Myanmar

Did you know that vaccines are sensitive biological products?  To maintain quality, vaccines must be protected from extreme temperatures. The system used for storing vaccines in good condition is called the cold chain.

©UNICEF Myanmar/2016/Khin Moe Aye
UNICEF has been helping the Ministry of Health and Sport (MOHS) to build, strengthen and sustain a well-functioning cold chain system throughout the country mainly through procurement, shipment, distribution, installation, repair and maintenance, as well as technical support by improving the skills of cold chain key persons (CCKPs), who are responsible for vaccine management.  In Shan State, UNICEF supported the installation of 79 solar refrigerators, 88 Icelined Refrigerators (ILRs) and 73 freezers in early 2016. This contributed to increase the storage capacity and permitted the introduction of new vaccines, including the  Pneumococcal vaccines, which have been introduced into the routine national immunization schedule from 2016 onwards. 

Hsiseng is one of the 21 townships in Southern Shan where Pa-oh ethnic group is a majority. The cold chain capacity of Hsiseng has been strengthened with two new solar fridges, two new ice-lined refrigerators and one freezer installed in the Township hospital and Station Health Unit.

Nang Htwe Kham from Lweput village, Hsiseng township, said that both her sons, 11 month old Maung Pay and four year old Maung Tang got vaccinated during health campaigns at the Lweput Rural Health Center, which received a solar refrigerator this year with UNICEF support. Getting vaccinated is a major contributing factor for the basic right of a child, i.e. health. Strengthening the cold chain capacity will protect more children against vaccine preventable diseases, thus promoting the child’s right to health. Nang Htwe Kham is looking forward to her two sons’ healthier and brighter future.

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