Sierra Leone Telegraph: 04 June 2020:
Solar powered medical refrigerator supplier Dulas, based in Wales, UK, has pledged to do what it can to support global vaccination through the COVID-19 crisis.
The outbreak of Coronovirus has placed the greatest strain on healthcare systems in living memory, and the consequences go far beyond the spread of the virus itself.
A devastating report by Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, estimates that at least 13.5 million people in some of the poorest nations will miss their routine vaccinations due to programme delays and disruptions.
So far, 14 major vaccination campaigns against polio, measles, cholera, HPV, yellow fever and meningitis have been postponed, as have four national vaccine introductions.
To address this severe setback, Gavi has released substantial and immediate resource  to ensure programme continuity.
The industry has pulled together to attempt to bridge the gap in vaccination coverage, and Dulas, one of the oldest businesses in the sector, has taken prompt action to safeguard production and service.
Dulas has its roots in ethical, humanitarian business and has deployed its innovative medical equipment to nearly every country in the developing world in a bid to save lives.
Dulas’ solar power systems and vaccine refrigerators have supported recovery through many global disasters, including the 2011 Philippines typhoon and the devastating 2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
The company’s life-saving off-grid medical equipment is needed now more than ever, and despite the global backdrop, Dulas’ manufacturing plant in the UK is working hard to ensure that there is no slow-down in our order fulfilment.
There is currently no confirmed vaccination against COVID-19, but teams of scientists around the globe are working hard to develop a vaccine. When that breakthrough comes, if the resulting vaccine needs refrigeration, it is certain that Dulas’ equipment will play a key role in preventing the spread of the virus. The company has been a vital component and pioneer of the cold chain industry since 1982.
In addition to manufacturing and supplying vaccine and blood storage, there is also increased international demand for respiratory and general medical equipment. Dulas designs and supplies solar systems to provide uninterrupted power to health centres to enable the use of ventilators, oxygen concentrators and lights.
The company’s refrigerators can also be supplied with ‘Solar Sockets’ that harvest excess energy from the refrigerator solar systems, diverting the power to other useful items, such as mobile phones, laptops or lamps, without affecting the performance of the refrigerator whatsoever.
Ruth Chapman, Dulas’ Managing Director, states that, “we’ve increased production in our manufacturing plant and worked with our suppliers to ensure we can meet demand. We have significant experience of working in countries with challenging conditions and getting cold chain equipment and power supplies to those who urgently need it. We are ready to do this and will work closely with charities and government organisations to mobilise immediate care.”
Gavi’s CEO Dr Seth Berkley, states that “the legacy of COVID-19 must not include the global resurgence of other killers like measles and polio”. The team at Dulas are doing their utmost to ensure that this worst-case scenario for global vaccination rates doesn’t happen.
The company will be liaising closely with UNICEF and Gavi and communicating with their partners across the globe to take their technology wherever it’s needed over the coming months.