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Japan and UNICEF partner together to support safe distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in Somalia

Mogadishu(SONNA)-The Government of Japan, through its partnership with UNICEF, has donated nearly $900,000 in an emergency grant to improve COVID-19 vaccine cold chain management in Somalia.

The funding will support the procurement of cold chain equipment (CCE) in 33 health facilities that will meet the requirements for COVID-19 vaccines. In addition, healthcare workers and medical technicians will be trained on the use and maintenance of the CCE. It is estimated that approximately 3 million people will benefit as a result of this contribution.

“Japan has been contributing to enhance the health sector in Somalia by providing training programmes and medical equipment,” H.E. HORIE Ryoich, Ambassador of Japan to Somalia said. “Japan is now committed to supporting the improvement of vaccination programmes all over the world by contributing $200 million to the COVAX facility. To date, Somalia has received 300,000 doses from this facility. However, having the vaccination itself, has no meaning if the country does not have sound cold chain capacity, and that is why we decided to provide this emergency grant to ensure equitable access and swift distribution of vaccines in Somalia. Japan has decided to co-host the Vaccine Summit on 2nd June, and I am sure that we will continue to contribute toward the global fight against COVID-19 including enhancement of vaccine access.”

The grant will be part of UNICEF’s overall support to the Ministry of Health to roll out one of the largest immunization drives the country has undertaken. Outside of ensuring adequate cold chain capacity and vaccine management, UNICEF, in partnership with WHO, also supports the government in training health workers on how to administer the vaccine safely, monitoring vaccine utilization and accountability through stock management and reporting.

UNICEF also plays a critical role in training and deploying social mobilizers to educate communities on the value and effectiveness of the vaccine and also to reinforce the importance of continuing COVID-19 prevention measures.

“UNICEF is extremely grateful to the Government of Japan and the Japanese people for their continued support to Somalia,” said Mohamed Ayoya, UNICEF Somalia Representative. “Not only will this generous contribution bolster Somalia’s efforts in the fight against COVID-19, it will also help strengthen health systems in the long run which is a critical step in achieving Universal Health Coverage.”

Source: Somali National News Agency