Covid: Japan to provide USD 9.3 million aid to India for building cold chain system

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New Delhi, Jul 1 (PTI) Japan will provide USD 9.3 million worth of cold chain equipment and related assistance to India to ensure vaccines against coronavirus reach all and boost the country's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The assistance is channelled through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

This grant will provide India with cold chain equipment (CCE), including cold-storage facilities, to ensure vaccines reach all, a UNICEF statement said.

Cold chain system building is critical to enhancing the country’s capacity to contain the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to strengthen the immunization service delivery for women and children in the long term.

The funding will be used to procure cold chain equipment and for strengthening institutional capacity to manage CCE to bolster the COVID-19 vaccines drive over a 12-month period starting from July.

This will include purchase of walk-in coolers, walk-in freezers, solar direct drives, vaccine carriers and voltage stabilizers, that are part of the cold chain system.

Satoshi Suzuki, Japan's Ambassador to India, said, “I am pleased that Japan and UNICEF stand together with India in the fight against the pandemic and are cooperating to provide CCE and technical assistance to strengthen institutional capacity to manage CCE for smooth delivery of COVID-19 vaccines in India.' This project will help deliver vaccines to approximately 5.5 million people living in remote areas including the North-East, he said.

UNICEF India Representative, Dr Yasmin Ali Haque said, 'This generous and timely contribution from the Government of Japan to the Government of India, through UNICEF, will immensely support the equitable and efficient deployment of COVID-19 vaccines across the country to reach the last mile in the fight against COVID-19.” Japan continues to be a leader and a major contributor in supporting countries across the globe in combating COVID-19 and in addressing the spread of the virus, the statement said Japan’s assistance aims to ensure equitable access to vaccines including in developing countries and in accelerating access to vaccination, a universal challenge for the international community, it said.

Japan has led operationalisation of the COVAX Facility as an international mechanism for the procurement of vaccines, and recently announced USD 800 million of financial contribution in addition to existing USD 200 million.

Its assistance will further complement efforts of the COVAX Facility, the statement said. PTI ASK ANB ANB

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