Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 January 2023:
The COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership, (CoVDP), yesterday handed over vehicles including motorbikes and computers worth over $2.8 million to support Government of Sierra Leone’s COVID-19 vaccine deployment.
CoVDP is a joint venture of the Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative (Gavi), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The items were officially handed over to Dr. Austin Demby, Minister of Health and Sanitation in Freetown, including two pick up vehicles, 250 motorbikes, six computers and accessories and 300 tablets with power banks.
In addition, 15 Peripheral Health Units (PHUs), and four District Vaccine Stores, will be connected to solar powered systems.
These supplies are part of the technical and operational support which the country is receiving to help scale up COVID-19 vaccination and strengthen routine immunisation services across Sierra Leone.
“It is heart-warming to receive these items from the COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership, (CoVDP). Since COVID-19 Vaccination is a vital lifesaving tool in the fight against COVID-19, this move is a step in the right direction. As Sierra Leone has achieved over 70% of fully vaccinated individuals for COVID-19 vaccination, this donation will boost the country’s determination in making more gains in the integrated vaccination approach,” said Dr. Austin Demby, Minister of Health and Sanitation.
Since March 2021, when Sierra Leone first introduced COVID-19 vaccination, the partners have helped ensure the delivery of up to 7,881,848 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the country through COVAX and other sources. Since the initial rollout, vaccination of eligible members of the population has significantly improved.
This latest support from the COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Partnership will ensure that the country’s COVID-19 vaccination programme continues this positive trajectory, continuing to reach high-risk population groups with boosters and remaining alert to the continued global threat of COVID-19.
“Gavi is proud to work with our partners in continued support of Sierra Leone’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout,” said Dr Richard Mihigo, Director of COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery, Coordination and Integration at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “These additional resources are vital investments that will further strengthening the health system as a whole, supporting integration of COVID-19 vaccines into routine immunisation programs, and ensuring more children are protected against various vaccine-preventable diseases.”
These vehicles and equipment have come at a time when partners in Sierra Leone continue to support the Government’s efforts to strengthen the health care delivery system and improve child health care services including immunisation, which faced a temporary snag due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In collaboration with the Government of Sierra Leone, we will intensify efforts on the deployment of vaccines, strengthening of the cold chain system, community sensitization and engagement for increased uptake of immunization services”, said Dr Suleiman Braimoh, UNICEF Representative in Sierra Leone.
“This will help ensure that the COVID-19 vaccination is integrated into routine immunization services in 2023 and beyond to protect children from vaccine preventable illnesses such as polio and measles.”
Dr Innocent Nuwagira, WHO Representative in Sierra Leone said: “The protracted nature of the COVID-19 pandemic calls for continued collaboration and partnership to support the ongoing efforts and progress that Sierra Leone has made in the fight against the disease.
“While we recognize the progress, WHO encourages everyone to remain vigilant, maintain the structures that were instituted to curb the pandemic, get more people vaccinated and continue to administer booster doses in accordance with national guidelines to safeguard the gains that we have collectively made”.
In addition to the items donated yesterday, another consignment including two vehicles, one refrigerated van and 150 solar refrigerators, is expected to arrive in Sierra Leone by March 2023 for handover to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.
About Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership that helps vaccinate half the world’s children against some of the world’s deadliest diseases. Since its inception in 2000, Gavi has helped to immunise a whole generation – over 981 million children – and prevented more than 16.2 million future deaths, helping to halve child mortality in 73 lower-income countries. Gavi also plays a key role in improving global health security by supporting health systems as well as funding global stockpiles for Ebola, cholera, meningococcal and yellow fever vaccines. After two decades of progress, Gavi is now focused on protecting the next generation, above all the zero-dose children who have not received even a single vaccine shot. The Vaccine Alliance employs innovative finance and the latest technology – from drones to biometrics – to save millions more lives, prevent outbreaks before they can spread and help countries on the road to self-sufficiency. Learn more at www.gavi.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
Gavi is a co-convener of COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, together with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. In its role, Gavi is focused on procurement and delivery for COVAX: coordinating the design, implementation and administration of the COVAX Facility and the Gavi COVAX AMC and working with its Alliance partners UNICEF and WHO, along with governments, on country readiness and delivery.
The Vaccine Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private sector partners. View the full list of donor governments and other leading organisations that fund Gavi’s work here.