Japanese government donates refrigerated land cruisers, other cold chain equipment to boost Jamaica’s vaccination programme
08 December 2022
Part of a grant of US$1.22 million or J$190 million of cold chain equipment from the Government of Japan, procured by UNICEF
State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon Leslie Campbell, His Excellency Masaya Fujiwara, Ambassador of Japan to Jamaica, State Minister in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Hon Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn and Acting Country Representative, UNICEF, Vicente Teran were photographed at the handover to Jamaica of two refrigerated Toyota Land Cruisers, other cold chain equipment and supplies donated by the Government of Japan and procured by UNICEF, which took place at the National Chest Hospital in St Andrew on Tuesday, December 6.
Jamaica received two (2) Land Cruisers with refrigeration capacity, other equipment and supplies from the Government of Japan, through UNICEF, to boost its vaccination and immunization programme. The donation is part of a grant of US$1.22 million or J$190 million of cold chain equipment from the Government of Japan. The vehicles and supplies were handed over on Tuesday, December 6 on the grounds of the National Chest Hospital in St Andrew.
In making the presentation on behalf of the People and Government of Japan, His Excellency Masaya Fujiwara, Ambassador of Japan to Jamaica said, “Japan’s priority is to enhance universal healthcare, in particular, fighting infectious diseases. Even today, the effect of COVID-19 on daily lives is still challenging.” As a result of this cooperation, Jamaica now has cold chain equipment that meets World Health Organisation (WHO) Standards for effective vaccine management. “Jamaica’s capacity has also been strengthened for rapid deployment of vaccines for citizens islandwide,” noted the outgoing Ambassador.
The Government of Japan’s donation covered the total cost of all supplies, which included 80 vaccine refrigerators, 370 cold boxes of varying sizes, 585 vaccine carriers and 40 combination refrigerators and freezers which will benefit 120 public health centres.
UNICEF Jamaica managed the procurement through its Supply Division to support the global response to the pandemic.
In expressing appreciation for the donation on behalf of the People and Government of Jamaica, State Minister in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Hon Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn said that the Land Cruisers, which were fit for purpose, will significantly improve our capacity to rapidly deploy vaccines across the country and of course increase quicker access by our health care workers.
“We are being strategic in thinking long-term. Public health and health facilities are evolving … we have to be proactive and put necessary measures in place,” State Minister Cuthbert-Flynn noted. “Our healthcare team is more than delighted to receive the donation of equipment and supplies.” She lauded the role of UNICEF in facilitating the donation and said that it was an “important partner in all things health.”
Speaking about the partnership between Jamaica and Japan, State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon Leslie Campbell said, “Cooperation in the health sector is just one of the many fields in which Jamaica and Japan have been actively engaged.” He explained that the two countries have collaborated on “fruitful programmes and projects in sectors that span the range and gamut of the priorities of the Jamaican Government.” These included agriculture, education, energy, culture, disaster risk reduction, sport and security.
An assessment was conducted during the early stage of the pandemic to guide the procurement efforts which UNICEF led. The grant also facilitated the training of more than 100 public health staff including nurses and technicians from across the health regions as well as spare parts for the refrigerators. “There is still more to be done to modernize and digitalize the immunization programme but we are off to an excellent start, thanks to the contribution from the Government of Japan,” Acting Country Representative, UNICEF, Vicente Teran said.
Cold chain equipment is essential to ensure that some COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines are transported to sites across the island and stored at the right temperature to maintain quality.