Immunization of children and women in developing countries is one of UNICEF's top priorities, contributing to several of the Millennium Development Goals and the fulfillment of children's right to health. The procurement of vaccines is central to this effort, as is a quality cold chain. Vaccines are temperature-sensitive, and without an uninterrupted cold chain, large quantities of vaccines will be wasted.
In 2003, UNICEF procured 2.5 billion doses of vaccines and $10 million worth of cold chain equipment, consisting of freezer, fridges, cold boxes etc. However, one of the challenges in ensuring that vaccines reach children in good condition is the availability of vaccine refrigerators in developing countries, where the electricity supply is often unreliable or even non-existent.
Under such circumstances, maintaining the required vaccine cold chain is problematic and at times impossible. For more than twenty years, kerosene refrigerators and very expensive solar-powered refrigerators have been the only viable solution. However, the temperature in kerosene refrigerators cannot be easily maintained between +2 and +8C, putting at risk very freeze sensitive and expensive vaccines.
Vaccine refrigerators that can be powered by a variety of energy sources can alleviate the problem of non-existing or insufficient electrical supply. The SolarChill is a potential solution to the problem. In addition, these new fridges use HC (hydrocarbon) refrigerant with significantly less or no effect on the ozone layer or global warming. SolarChill multi-source powered vaccine refrigerators can also be of great benefit under emergency circumstances, such as natural disasters or war conditions.
UNICEF supports the joint efforts to develop this technology with the understanding that the complete technology is made available free of charge to any interested party thereby ensuring a healthy industry and provided that there are no patents limiting the possibility for other suppliers to manufacture a product with the Solar Chill technology.For more information on UNICEF immunization and supply program please go to: www.unicef.org/supply
Contact: Ms Annika Salovaara
UNICEF Plads, Freeport
Phone: (45) 352 73067
Fax: (45) 352 50285