(From right) Tsutomu Himeno, Anne-Claire Dufay, Kwabena Boadu Oku-Afari, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye with Dr Kwame Amponsa Achiano, head of Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI).
The government of Japan through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has presented 30 ultra-low freezers that can accommodate between 500 and 850 litres of vaccines each, to the country.
The donation is envisaged to boost the country’s Covid-19 response by augmenting the storage facilities especially for vaccines that need to be preserved in ultra low temperatures.
The freezers, valued about $1 million, would be distributed to 12 regional health directorates, five teaching hospitals, 10 regional hospitals, two quasi-government hospitals and one private hospital.
Japanese Ambassador, Tsutomu Himeno who presented the freezers to health officials in Accra said the donation was going to improve the health of the citizenry and that although providing health care was important, prevention was salient.
“It is important we prevent the citizens from contracting the virus any further and we have to prevent this at all cost,” he said.
The Chief Director of Ministry of Health, Kwabena Boadu Oku-Afari, said the Government would receive about four-million vaccines, out of which 3.5 million would be Pfizer vaccines that required ultra-low cold temperature freezers for storage.
He, therefore, expressed the nation’s gratitude to the Japanese government for investing more than $2.3 million to strengthen Ghana’s health systems, including contributing to quality maternal and child health care and fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
He further mentioned that, “We see the presentation of these ultra-low temperature freezers as critical in ensuring access to Covid-19 vaccines to Ghanaians and indeed, all people in Ghana.”
UNICEF Ghana representative, Anne-Claire Dufay, commended the government for its unrelenting efforts to ensure that at least 20 million persons are fully vaccinated against the novel pandemic.
“As more people in Ghana are vaccinated, there is greater opportunity for everyday life to return to normal, for children to learn and play more easily and for health systems to no longer be overwhelmed,” she added.
She commended the government of Japan for the immense contribution it had made to Ghana’s health system, including the area of nutrition.
“We value the dedication of Japan, their strategic partnership and commitment and they should be rest assured that they will not be forgotten,” she said.
Director General of Ghana Health Service (GHS) Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, thanked the government of Japan and UNICEF for the support and assured them, the freezers will be used for its intended purpose in order to have lives
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri