Guyana receives 13 solar refrigerators to boost immunisation in hinterland regions

The Ministry of Health has received 13 solar refrigerators valued at US$160,000 to strengthen its immunisation coverage within the hinterland areas, specifically Regions One, Seven, Eight, and Nine, as well as areas in Region Two.

Minister Dr Frank Anthony accepted the TCW 120 solar combined refrigerators from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), at the ministry’s bond in Kingston on Tuesday.

Officials and partners during the handing over ceremony

Each refrigerator provides a safe storage capacity of 120 litres of vaccines that will be distributed to areas that are affected by intermittent power supply.

Minister Anthony expressed his gratitude to UNICEF and USAID for their continued support in strengthening the routine immunisation system and child health through COVID-19 investment in Guyana.

“I think that is an innovation because I know how challenging it can be and how worried these guys are when we are faced with challenges to get vaccines out and bring them back centrally when the systems are not working,” the health minister stated.

Handing over of the TCW 120 solar combined refrigerators

The vaccines will enhance equity and equality in the services as well as reduce the cost incurred by the ministry for the transportation of vaccines within the hinterland regions.

UNICEF Deputy Representative, Irfan Akhtar noted that immunisation is the most cost-effective and sustainable public investment to save the lives of children.

He said the organisation remains steadfast in ensuring that every child in Guyana has equal access to vaccines and health services.

US Ambassador to Guyana, Nicole Theriot said her country will continue to invest in the health ministry to ensure the quality and potency of vaccines and services in Guyana.

Minister Anthony and other officials inspect one of the new TCW 120 solar combined refrigerators

Ambassador Theriot stated that the solar direct cold chain equipment was deployed across Latin America and the Caribbean, however, Guyana is the only recipient of the newer version thus far.

The cutting-edge technology allows remote temperature monitoring of the vaccines.

Regional Representative of USAID for Eastern and Southern Caribbean Mission, Mervyn Farroe; Director Programme Office USAID/ESC, Stephanie Mikulasek; Director General, Development Office, USAID/ESC, Steven Fondriest; Director of Primary Health Services, Dr. Ertenesia Hamilton; and Maternal and Child Health Officer, Dr. Oneka Scott were also in attendance.