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UNICEF supported cold chain point improves efficiency of RI process in J’khand

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New Delhi: A public health centre (PHC) at Nagri block in Jharkhand’s Ranchi district has set an example on how to improve the efficiency of the routine immunization (RI) process and the overall effectiveness of the health centre by setting up a cold chain point.

The story revolves around the PHC at Nagri block which struggled to be efficient for a long time. One of the prominent reasons was the lack of a cold chain point.

The lack of a cold chain point led to delays in the vaccination process, which prompted mothers to move from one PHC to another in search of vaccines. This resulted in delayed vaccination and immunization dropouts, as per the ‘The State of the World’s Children (SOWC)- 2023’ report released by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) on Thursday.

According to the report, UNICEF’s advocacy helped in creating a new cold chain point which has transformed the PHC and improved the RI process.

UNICEF’s periodic effective vaccine management (EVM) assessments, advocacy efforts, and capacity-building initiatives have been crucial in ensuring full immunisation coverage in Jharkhand, it claimed.

The report reads, “UNICEF used EVM assessments to periodically monitor the condition of cold chain points and storage units. After identifying the centres requiring additional cold chain points, it installed an ice lined refrigerator and a deep freezer at the Nagri PHC to minimise vaccine travel time. To improve the capacity of cold chain handlers, it provided training and backup support, such as solar equipment procurement, to immunization centres, and monitored information systems.”

“The pandemic (Covid) and a lack of equipment and trained personnel initially delayed the cold chain’s activation. However, UNICEF continued to strengthen the capacity of cold chain handlers in all districts, including training Sushma Manjula Lakra at Nagri PHC,identifying missed-out children, enrolling them in the vaccination programme, supporting the supply chain, and managing information systems,” it said.

The report also highlighted the shift to digital technology in the health sector and its potential to improve the quality and timeliness of data.

“India has made strides in this area with the digital health platform TeCHO+ and the electronic vaccine intelligence network (eVIN) which has been linked to the improvement of vaccination coverage and the availability of doses,” the report said.

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