The Government of Japan commits to strengthen Maldives Cold Chain Capacity for Vaccine Management through UNICEF Maldives

     Malé, March 10, 2021 – The Government of Japan has committed USD 1,032,719 equivalent to MVR 15,924,527 to UNICEF Maldives to assist the Government of Maldives to continue building a sustainable immunization supply chain system. The Maldives is one of 25 countries in Southeast and Southwest Asia and Pacific Island region that the Government of Japan is supporting with cold chain equipment as “Last One Mile Support” to ensure vaccination through UNICEF. This will complement efforts of the COVAX Facility.
     The components under this financial assistance include:
1. Provision of Cold Chain Equipment (CCE) for COVID-19 vaccines, including dry ice making machines, walk-in freezers and ice lined refrigerators, and logistical support for the installation of CCE.
2. Strengthening the capacity of Government staff including technicians on operation and maintenance of CCE.
3. Strengthening the capacity of health care facility staff on use and monitoring of the CCE.
4. Supporting the Government in strengthening COVID-19 cold chain and vaccine management with coordination/consultation, data collection/analysis and policy/regulatory formulation.
     UNICEF Maldives has been an integral partner in the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been supporting the Government of Maldives with public communication and engagement around demand generation and addressing vaccine hesitancy for the COVID-19 vaccines including public advocacy, community mobilisation and training sessions for key partners as well as strengthening immunization cold chain systems through procurement of key equipment and provision of technical expertise. 
     Through this assistance, UNICEF Maldives will be able to work even more closely with the Ministry of Health and Health Protection Agency to ensure that the strong Immunization Supply Chains Management (ISCM) systems are in place and ready to receive, store and roll-out the COVID-19 vaccination program effectively.
     The Government of Japan has been actively contributing to global efforts to overcome COVID-19. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Japan has committed grants in the total value of approximately USD 7.5 million to the Maldives, namely:
  • USD 5.6 million to the Government of Maldives to equip and improve the health services at atolls and regional hospitals across the Maldives.
  • USD 1.4 million to UNDP Maldives in support of small and medium enterprises in agri-businesses affected by COVID-19 and,
  • USD 356,400 to UNICEF Maldives and USD 185,000 for the Maldives Red Crescent to complement the Government’s effort to respond to COVID-19.
     In addition to these grants, USD 47.5 million was extended to the Government of Maldives as 'The COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan’.
     The Government of Japan hopes that this assistance will enhance swift distribution of vaccines and ensure the Government’s inclusive approach to providing free and equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccines not only for Maldivians but also for all people reside in the Maldives.