The Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng has on Wednesday handed over two cold-chain refrigerated trucks to National Medical Stores (NMS) to safely transport vaccines across the country under the required conditions.
The two of the five refrigerated trucks were procured by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Uganda with support from GAVI to support vaccination in the country.
While handing over the trucks to NMS General Manager, Moses Kamabare, Dr Aceng said the vehicles were well equipped to ensure vaccines are kept at optimal temperatures while being delivered.
She also said 5 out of 10 refrigerated trucks available at NMS were due for disposal.
“Out of the 10 trucks currently available in National Medical stores, 5 refrigerated trucks are due for disposal. Our expectations are that the trucks will be deployed in supporting the immunization activities and other health related activities,” she said.
She added that the trucks will support NMS to build a resilient fleet to distribute and support Immunization activities across the country.
Kamabare said the trucks “are built to perfection, and we are glad that they have come out the way we agreed with the manufacturers.”
He said the arrival of trucks was timely.
“These trucks will help boost NMS at time when there is big demand for vaccines,” Kamabare emphasised.
NMS has built capacity to store vaccines that require both high and low temperatures.
On July 11, Kamabare said Uganda has the capacity to store Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine which need to be kept at minus 70 degrees Celsius.
“We are already storing Ebola vaccines at – 80 degrees centigrade. Yes, we can store Pfizer which is kept at minus 70 degrees Celsius,” he added.
Meanwhile, UNICEF Representative to Uganda, Munir Safieldin said the remaining 3 trucks will arrive in Uganda in September.
“These are the initial delivery of two trucks. Three more trucks will be arriving hopefully by September,” he said.
The mandate of NMS is to procure, store and distribute essential medicines and health supplies mainly to public health facilities.