The Government of Japan has provided the grant assistance to strengthen vaccine cold chain system in Nepal through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Under the grant, Japan has provided high-quality facilities such as 9 walk-in-coolers, 38 solar-driven vaccine refrigerators, 1,109 long-range vaccine carriers and 53 cold boxes to ensure effective COVID-19 vaccination rollout in Nepal, according to a press release. These facilities have been delivered sequentially throughout Nepal since last year and the delivery of all items of equipment was completed on January 30, 2022. The grant also supports human resource development for operation and maintenance of cold chain equipment as well as monitoring for effective management of routine and COVID-19 vaccines by UNICEF.
“Nepal is currently experiencing the third wave of COVID-19 with the Omicron variant, which makes the vaccine drive one of the top priorities for the Government,” remarked Ambassador of Japan to Nepal, KIKUTA Yutaka. “Appropriate vaccine storage is crucial in the vaccine campaign and this grant aims to drastically increase the capacity for storage and
distribution of vaccines across the country.”
“The provided walk-in-coolers are transportable and can be installed relatively quickly and inexpensively, the solar-driven refrigerators help tackle storage issues faced by regions with unstable electricity, and the carriers and boxes enable vaccine distribution to communities unreachable by a vehicle,” pointed out Ambassador KIKUTA. He expressed hope that the grant can expedite the process in reaching every person waiting for the vaccine, and the Nepali people to regain normal, safe days, overcoming the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic at the earliest.
Japan so far donated vaccines, ambulances, various medical and cold chain equipment to strengthen the measures against COVID-19. In addition, it was recently decided to extend a loan assistance of up to ten billion Japanese yen (approximately 10.4 NPR) to the Government of Nepal for economic recovery, growth and social resilience.
“We are grateful to the Government of Japan for its continued support to Nepal in critical efforts to safely and effectively deliver and store vaccines across the country, particularly at a time when Nepal is battling high numbers of COVID-19 infections during the current wave,” remarked Ms. Elke Wisch, UNICEF Representative in Nepal. “The cold chain equipment provided through Japan’s generous support will not only support the Government of Nepal’s current COVID-19 vaccination drive, but also reinforce critical routine immunization services to protect children against main childhood diseases.