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 Store for new vaccines to open in August – Minister Aceng

FILE PHOTO: Health Minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A year behind schedule, the Ministry of Health has set new dates for opening of a new vaccines store currently under construction at Kajjansi on the outskirts of Kampala.

The $7.6million project that is being completed using funds secured from donors, Global Fund and the global vaccines body GAVI, the Vaccines Alliance was supposed to be up and running by August 2019 having started works in 2017.

But, Health Minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng says the project has been delayed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) which caused halts with lockdowns. She said they are now set to open in August.

Construction of the store which is an extension of the National Medical Stores was embarked on following space shortage concerns whereby the body complained of having space for 8,000 pallets and yet the country’s vaccine stock has been on an increase in the last few years.

According to National Medical Stores, the government provided them Shs 9 billion for procurement of vaccines before the 2018/19 financial year when it was increased to Shs1 1 billion. In the 2019/20 financial year, the budget for the vaccines budget was further increased to Shs 21 billion.

Annually, Dr. Aceng says through government co-financing initiative with GAVI, there will be Shs 500 million increase to cater for the new births.

Apart from the store at the center, Dr. Aceng said there are also challenges of keeping vaccines safe in areas that don’t have power a reason they procured and installed 1514 solar fridges for such facilities last year.

The new warehouse will increase the capacity of pallet positions to 30,000 compared to the current 8,000 pallet positions.

Between 1 and 1.7 million children and adults get immunized each year with children getting 13 vaccines which are the Ministry of Health free vaccines schedule.

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