Japan, UNICEF to Help Strengthen Indonesia’s Vaccine Cold Chain

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NUSADAILY.COM -JAKARTA- Japan has extended US$6.9 million to support the activities of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for mitigating the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the education sector and strengthening vaccine cold chain facilities in Indonesia.

The grant is a continuation of Japan’s support in 2020 for UNICEF’s multi-sectoral response action to address the direct impact of the pandemic in Indonesia, the Japanese Embassy in Jakarta said in a written statement released on Thursday.

“Japan is working closely with Indonesia to help improve the capacity of the health system and drive economic recovery, based on the principles of human security,” Japanese Ambassador to Indonesia, Kanasugi Kenji, stated.

“Expanding the production of secure, affordable, and effective vaccines and providing equitable access (to vaccines) is the key to addressing the pandemic. Japan is collaborating with UNICEF to ensure that vaccines reach recipients by supporting vaccine cold chain logistics in this vast country,” he added.

Indonesia rolled out its nationwide vaccination program in January, 2021 and is targeting to inoculate 181.5 million people, or 67 percent of its total population, using different COVID-19 vaccines.

A recent assessment of the cold chain system in Indonesia indicates that the administration of more than 335 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines will have a significant impact on the immunization supply chain and the cold chain storage capacity.

The Japanese grant will be used to procure cold chain facilities, including cold storage and transportation facilities, to support access to and distribute COVID-19 vaccines across Indonesia in an equitable manner.

UNICEF has said it will procure, distribute, and install cold chain instruments at provincial and district/municipal levels, and strengthen institutional capacity to manage the instruments.

Meanwhile, the Japanese government-backed ‘Safe Return to Learning Program’ is aiming to address the educational, health, and psycho-social needs of children in the provinces of Papua and South Sulawesi.

The support will strengthen the national system and capability to provide basic public services to community groups in remote areas, which lack access to services, the embassy noted.

For the learning program, UNICEF will cooperate with local authorities to enable children, particularly those living in least developed regions, to return to safe learning and receive important health services. (sak)