Sun | Feb 5, 2023

Japan to gift NHF vaccine storage room

Published:Friday | December 9, 2022 | 12:16 AMChristopher Serju/Senior Gleaner Writer
Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Leslie Campbell (left), applauds as Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, thanks Japan’s outgoing Ambassador to Jamaica, Masaya Fujiwara, f
Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Leslie Campbell (left), applauds as Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, thanks Japan’s outgoing Ambassador to Jamaica, Masaya Fujiwara, for the donation of two refrigerated Toyota Land Cruisers and cold chain equipment and supplies. Also present at the National Chest Hospital on Tuesday is UNICEF Jamaica’s Deputy Representative, Vicente Teran.

Next year, the government of Japan will donate a 40-cubic-metre combined walk-in cold and freezer room with storage capacities of 6,757 and 4,286 litres, to be installed at the headquarters of the National Health Fund (NHF), that will significantly enhance the potency and quality of vaccines and improve the country’s capacity for the rapid deployment and quick access to vaccines.

This was announced by UNICEF Jamaica’s Deputy Representative Vicente Teran at Tuesday’s handover of important cold chain equipment at the National Chest Hospital conference room. The equipment was procured in partnership with the government of Japan for the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

“With this support, we can report that Jamaica can now store and distribute vaccines, including those that must be kept at very low temperatures, for a longer period. This means less wastage and improved reach in deep, rural areas,” Teran said.

Already, under the $1.22-million grant, UNICEF had procured and distributed 80 vaccine refrigerators, 370 cold boxes of varying sizes and 585 vaccine carriers. On Tuesday, two refrigerated trucks for transporting vaccine and 40 combination refrigerators and freezers were handed over.

Meanwhile, Japan’s outgoing Ambassador to Jamaica, Masaya Fujiwara, pointed out that Jamaica now has cold chain equipment that meets the World Health Organization’s Effective Vaccine Management standards

“We should be proud that Jamaica has improved the capacity for rapid deployment and rapid access to vaccines islandwide,” he noted.

Fujiwara recalled being impressed by the COVID-19 protocols that were in place when he arrived at the Norman Manley Airport in August 2020. “I was welcomed at the airport by medical personnel in full protective clothing, and spent two weeks in quarantine at my residence. I was relieved then that Jamaica was effectively controlling the COVDI-19 pandemic,” he shared.

Fujiwara also paid tribute to the wide array of healthcare staff.

“Let me commend all healthcare professional in Jamaica who worked tirelessly at the forefront in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Without your dedicated work, we could not take off a mask and celebrate here today.” He also paid tribute to Health Minister Dr Tufton and State Minister Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn for their sterling leadership in addressing the COVID-19 health challenges.

“To all Jamaican government officials, I will never forget the difficult times when we rallied together. As I wrap up my tour of duty as Japan’s ambassador to Jamaican on December 8, I will always remember having worked closely with you for common goals. I would like to conclude my greetings by wishing you all continued prosperity and success, and the continued development of Jamaica-Japan (J-J) partnership. Long live our J-J partnership.”