14:02 / 20.11.2021
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Central Asia’s largest cold chain vaccine facility opens in Uzbekistan

On November 20, on World Children’s Day, UNICEF handed over the Republican Cold Chain Warehouse, the largest vaccine facility in Central Asia, to the Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan. 

Photo: UNICEF Uzbekistan/2021

The opening of this new facility, which will allow storing large numbers of vaccines with different temperature requirements including ultra-cold temperatures, is a critical step towards a more robust immunization system in the country, which will support the government’s efforts to improve maternal and child health and the overall wellbeing of the country’s population, UNICEF press service said.

“Children's health and disease prevention are among the top priorities of the government of Uzbekistan, so the opening of a warehouse of this scale is very timely,” said Behzod Musaev, Minister of Health of Uzbekistan. “We expect this warehouse to become a logistics hub for the entire national immunization programme, and to multiply our capacity to supply and manage vaccines. I would like to thank our international partners, and above all UNICEF, for their assistance in strengthening the cold chain system in Uzbekistan”, he added.

The Republican Cold Chain Warehouse can store all kinds of vaccines currently available. It is equipped with three walk-in cold rooms with almost 1,000 m2 (2-8° C) storage capacity, ultracold freezers (3,000 liter capacity), walk-in freezers (40 m3) to store the vaccine supply, as well as 1,000 m2 of dry storage for ancillary immunization supplies. The facility also features electric forklifts, dock shelters, leveling platforms, and lifting mechanisms for quick and efficient cargo management, and is connected to two electric grid mains and fitted with a powerful standby diesel generator, to help ensure an uninterrupted power supply.

“Having a well-functioning supply and cold chain system in place is critical for an efficient national immunization programme”, said Afshan Khan, UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia. “UNICEF is pleased to have been able to support the establishment of this facility, which will contribute to the smooth functioning of the entire national supply and cold chain system of Uzbekistan, and serve as an example to other countries in the region,” she added.

Since 2017, UNICEF has supported the construction of a total of 21 vaccine warehouses across Uzbekistan. It has also provided refrigerated trucks, vaccine carriers and cold boxes, as well as staff training and the necessary guidelines and instructions on how to run the facilities.

UNICEF will continue to support the Government of Uzbekistan in strengthening national and local capacities in the management, planning, monitoring and evaluation of supply and cold chain systems, in the framework of the Country Programme of Cooperation for 2021-2025.

Over the past four years, UNICEF, with funding support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, has supported the strengthening of supply and cold chain systems at both national and local levels in Uzbekistan, including through mobile teams. This has included the provision of:

-  21 new cold chain facilities (one national, 14 regional, and six district-level vaccine warehouses)
-  17 refrigerator trucks, 206 minivans (one for each district), 16 sedans and 16 SUVs
-  2,078 refrigerators, which have been installed in primary health care facilities
-  700 freezers for district level
-  6,930 vaccine carriers for vaccination points at primary health care level
-  862 cold boxes for mobile brigades
-  Ten units of the ultra-cold chain for the Republic warehouse
-  Three walk-in freezers
-  671 refrigerators and 209 freezers, which will be distributed and installed in primary health care facilities
-  About 2500 sets of IT equipment for the vaccine logistic information system and for vaccination points.

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