The Japanese government has given 36.9 million US dollars to 12 Latin American, Caribbean, and African countries, including Malawi to improve their cold chain management.
About K574 million (nearly US$725,000) of this funding will be channeled to Malawi for its COVID-19 vaccination efforts by improving cold chain capabilities through enhanced infrastructure, equipment, transportation, and training for healthcare staff.
This comes at a time when Malawi, through the Ministry of Health, is scheduled to roll out second phase of Covid-19 vaccination campaign across the country from June 3, 2021.
Japanese Ambassador to Malawi, Satoshi Iwakiri said in a statement that cold chain capabilities are essential for storing and transporting vaccines at the required temperatures if they are to remain effective.
Iwakiri, therefore, said the funding will boost the country’s health system capacity as it rolls out the largest and most rapid vaccination programme in its history.
“This is critical to ensuring that the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines does not overstretch existing capacities and disrupt essential, routine childhood immunization services while also strengthening existing health systems so that Malawi continues to benefit from an improved cold chain system beyond the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Iwakiri.
Japan has also contributed 200 million US dollars to the global COVAX Facility, an international mechanism led by Gavi, CEPI, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF to ensure and accelerate equitable access to vaccines across the developing world.
The Japanese Ambassador to Malawi claimed that his government is committed to promoting the COVID-19 recovery by building the capacity of the health system with the grant in question facilitating the vaccination programme to safeguard the health of Malawians.
UNICEF, the lead procurement, and supply agency for COVAX, has been supporting Malawi in strengthening its national immunization programme, which benefits millions of children every year.
On his part, UNICEF Malawi Representative Rudolf Schwenk thanked the Japanese government for the timely support, saying it will enhance safe delivery COVID-19 vaccines across the country and ensure continuity of routine immunization services for children beyond COVID-19.