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Thoughts from the Last Mile Welcome to the VillageReach Blog

Tag Archives: Cold Chain

11.30 2017
Vaccines are stored in refrigerators and other cold chain equipment in order to maintain proper temperature. Photo Credit: Paul Joseph Brown

Vaccines are extremely sensitive to temperature. They must remain between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius in order to remain viable. Outside of this temperature range, vaccines become less effective at preventing diseases. Because of this, the storage and handling of vaccines need careful attention. The equipment and devices used to ensure vaccines stay in the right temperature range are known as the “cold chain.” When vaccines are transported, stored in a refrigerator, or used in an immunization session, the cold chain keeps the temperature right. Significant investments have been made in updating cold chain equipment in many countries, but overall performance remains a significant concern.

With our new partner Bull City Learning, VillageReach is strengthening the vaccine cold chain in Malawi. Using human-centered design principles, we are creating an easy-to-use, interactive, digital manual on refrigerator maintenance and repair. By providing this tool for cold chain technicians, we hope to improve routine maintenance of essential equipment used to keep vaccines at the right temperatures.

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02.01 2017

Versão português

With the endorsement of the Addis Declaration on Immunisation, African leaders demonstrated their commitment to life-saving immunizations.  The Declaration names a number of components – ten, in fact – crucial to realizing the full benefits of immunization.  But there are many more pieces in the day-to-day work of getting vaccines to children.  These are the pieces I think about as I do my part in reaching global vaccine goals.

Depending on the day, I’m thinking about things like this:

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11.23 2016

For the past month, I’ve been in Democratic Republic of Congo working to further establish and expand VillageReach’s presence in the country. I’ve also been preparing for a workshop to present the preliminary results of a supply chain modeling exercise that will help key stakeholders identify opportunities for improvement. In the process, I’ve been making the rounds to all our partners, and a key question about our work keeps coming up:

What is taking so long?!?

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11.19 2015

Last week, the annual Global Health Supply Chain Summit took place in Dakar, Senegal, bringing together supply chain specialists and thought leaders from around the world to keep challenging each of us to strive for better performance of supply chains. It is a week to reflect on what is currently happening in supply chain management, and it sets the agenda for priorities for the coming year.

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09.24 2015

Many people in global health talk about how Coca-Cola supply chain practices could be applied and adapted to health commodities to ensure that vaccines, malaria treatment, family planning commodities, and many more essential medicines are available at the last mile health facilities. And they have a point—I have seen Coca-Cola in pretty much every village I’ve been to in Africa throughout my almost 20 years of going to these remote places.

However, that cannot be said for the south part of the Equateur Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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06.26 2015

Olivia Vargas is currently in Mozambique conducting a midline evaluation of the ColdTrace pilot program, a remote temperature monitoring system for vaccines currently operating in the southern portion of the Gaza Province where she recently visited a vaccine warehouse as inspiration for this blog.

Vaccines come with a lot of accessories. They are the friend that shows up with four suitcases for a weekend getaway. The friend that packs for every possible weather scenario, and the friend that takes the longest to get ready to leave the house. I learned this lesson while in the Mozambican province of Gaza. I got a tour of the provincial warehouse where all the vaccines are stored before they are distributed to district health centers and remote health posts.

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06.05 2015

The 15th TechNet Conference convened last month in Bangkok, bringing together a global network of professionals and practitioners committed to strengthening immunization services in developing countries.  As my first time attending, it was a great opportunity to “geek out” about vaccines with a whole bunch of other vaccine “geeks.” The conference presented a mix of global policies and trends, as well as presentations from different countries on innovations for the vaccine supply chain that are improving efficiencies and increasing vaccine coverage rates. It was an opportunity to share experiences and learn from others’ work around the world.

Tech Net-21
Tech Net-21 Group Photo, courtesy of TechNet-21

A few key themes emerged from the conversations and presentations during the conference:

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04.28 2015

For the last fifteen years, VillageReach has been working to help ensure all children have access to vaccines. I have had the opportunity to spend time in rural health facilities across sub-Saharan Africa, talk with hundreds of healthcare workers, and meet with numerous leaders of health ministries. Through our daily interactions with health workers and government partners, I’ve seen first-hand the challenges to achieving immunization equity, especially as new vaccines are being added to already strained systems.

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04.07 2015

Improving Data for Management of the Vaccine Cold Chain in Mozambique

Last week I was spending a lot of time with my colleague from UNICEF/Mozambique to create a distribution plan for  new cold chain equipment procured and funded by UNICEF. This is a great opportunity for the country to strengthen the cold chain to ensure vaccines are available and potent all the way to the last mile of delivery.

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Malawi healthcare worker