Giving Compass' Take:
- Peyton Fleming at Global Citizen discusses how solar refrigerators have been an extremely helpful and vital source in continuing vaccine distribution in parts of Africa and how that will pertain to the coronavirus vaccination.
- How else does solar power help advance health in Africa? How can you best support proper vaccination?
- Learn about African countries who joined the global initiative for COVID-10 vaccine access.
What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
BOSTON, Oct 31 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) — Dozens of children at a clinic in North Kivu, on the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), received a measles vaccine in May, made possible by a quiet revolution in refrigeration that keeps vaccines cold, even in places without reliable electric power.
The "solar direct-drive" refrigerators — plain, box-like coolers that do not require fuel or batteries — have helped boost child vaccinations in DRC's poorest rural provinces by 50% in the past year, according to global vaccine alliance Gavi.
That has helped cut child mortality in DRC to half of what it was two decades ago. More than 18 million children were vaccinated last year against a deadly measles outbreak, which has slowed dramatically in recent weeks.
Now the world is looking to launch a far bigger immunisation push once vaccines for COVID-19 become available.
Delivering millions of inoculations in Africa, a sprawling continent with fragile health systems and a lack of electricity to power them, will be a daunting task.
And it remains unclear whether existing off-grid fridges can keep the vaccines cold enough to help.
Refrigeration is essential for vaccine distribution.
Most vaccines require cooling at between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius (35-46 degrees Fahrenheit), but nearly half of the leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates under development will require cold storage as low as minus 80C, researchers say.
Read the full article about the benefits of solar fridges by Peyton Fleming at Global Citizen.