The ministry of public health now has a cold truck to enable the expanded program on immunization (EPI) safely deliver tons of vaccines to children throughout the country.
UNICEF, the United Nations Children Fund, donated the four-wheel-drive INVECO truck with a 33.47-cubic-meter cold chamber at a brief ceremony in Yaounde on Thursday.
It will mainly serve distant places from the capital like the Far North where vaccine transportation often fails to meet the 20 to 80 C temperature requirement.
“The vehicle is equipped with a temperature monitoring system that conserves the quality of vaccine until it reaches children and pregnant women,” UNICEF said in a statement.
The health minister Andre Mama Fouda said the truck was timely and filled a major gap in the efficiency of the expanded program on immunization (EPI).
A 2015 study revealed that the quality of vaccines dropped more rapidly during transportation, when the recommended storage temperature is hardly met.
“Vaccination is the best way to protect our children and it is important for us to ensure that all vaccines that we have in Cameroon are [transported] to the different regions in the best condition,” Fouda.
The truck, bought for CFA67.5 million is part of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) funding to improve the vaccine supply chain in Cameroon.
UNICEF is also supplying deep freezers and refrigerators under the program.
“The gold chain was found to be deficient,” said UNICEF country representative Felicite Tchibindat. “If we want to deliver quality of service to the population, we need to ensure that the cold chain is of good quality.”