The National Institute for Control of Vaccines and Biologicals (NICVB), the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE), and Zuellig Pharma on April 17 officially announced a project to expand access to vaccines in Vietnam through the use of the eZCooler – an innovative packaging technology that ensures the integrity of temperature sensitive products to the last mile of transportation.
|John Davison, CEO of Zuellig Pharma, speaking at the meeting |
The $600,000 project aims to support the Vietnam Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI), initiated by the Ministry of Health (MoH) in 1981 with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The nation’s public health programme has since benefitted millions of women and children. Ensuring the highest standards of cold chain for vaccines will further contribute to the success of the EPI.
Under the recently-signed agreement, Zuellig Pharma will contribute the innovative eZCooler, a temperature-controlled packaging solution to maintain product quality during transportation, therefore expanding access to vaccines in the country, particularly in remote areas. Zuellig Pharma will also co-operate with NICVB and NIHE to provide training to employees of the Medical Prevention Departments in six provinces on international standards and Goods Storage Practices for cold chain supply management and usage of the eZCooler.
As outlined in the EPI plan, the MoH has goals to improve the proportion of vaccination in areas that are at high risk of outbreaks, and in areas which are geographically difficult to reach, such as remote, mountainous or island areas. In view of this, Zuellig Pharma will contribute eZCooler with three capacities (8 litre, 12 litre, and 96 litre) in the six northern provinces of Hai Duong, Bac Ninh, Quang Ninh, Ha Giang, Son La, and Yen Bai.
“To meet the goal of the EPI, we faced many challenges such as access to local health centres in remote areas, changes in temperature through different seasons and regions, and limited transport systems in remote areas. The importance of maintaining the cold chain to protect the prescribed temperatures during transport is crucial in helping to ensure the integrity and quality of pharmaceuticals as well as patient safety. We highly appreciate the support from Zuellig Pharma Vietnam to share the innovative eZCooler technology to benefit the Vietnamese community. It definitely creates a premise for the sustainable development of the cold chain supply chain in Vietnam,” said Doan Huu Thien, director of NICVB.
Marc Franck, chief executive of Zuellig Pharma Vietnam, said, “According to Business Monitor International, Vietnam’s healthcare expenditure was estimated at $16.1 billion in 2017, representing 7.5 per cent of its GDP and the figure will grow at 12.5 per cent a year to $22.7 billion by 2021. Vaccines and cold chain products make up a significant part of this expenditure. Zuellig Pharma is honoured to contribute our innovative solutions to this project to ensure that everyone in the country has easy access to vaccines. We have been entrusted by companies around the world to undertake the supply of pharmaceuticals for nearly a hundred years in Asia and 19 years in Vietnam. Today, we are happy to be able to share our expertise and technology with the Vietnamese government and will work closely together with all parties to make healthcare more accessible in the country."
eZCooler is a sophisticated new packaging solution that ensures the integrity of temperature-sensitive products to the last mile of transportation. The solution is designed and manufactured using a single insulation system to maintain a specific pharmaceutical temperature for up to five days, making healthcare more accessible to places across Asia, especially in remote or rural areas.
It is essential that vaccines are stored continuously at a temperature of 2-8 degrees Celsius. Any deviation or interruption in the cold chain from production, storage, transport, and use can potentially damage the integrity of vaccines, resulting in reduced efficacy and safety in treatment.
Other advantages of eZCooler that outweigh traditional cold chain storage solutions with foam containers include:
• Rigorous compliance with regulations: By restricting the storage temperature of a product to an allowed threshold, eZCooler allows pharmaceutical products in transit to be stored at the manufacturer's required temperature and for close guidance by medical authorities throughout the entire cold chain.
• Ensures product integrity: All six sides of eZCooler have vacuum insulation panels to ensure a stable internal storage temperature no matter the external environment and without any reliance on external energy sources.
• Environmentally friendly: By completely eliminating the use of disposable foam containers and replacing them with the reusable eZCooler, the project will contribute to reducing waste and carbon emissions.
• Economically friendly: With regular maintenance, the eZCooler can continue to provide temperature-controlled transportation for vaccines for years. • Customizable volumes: eZCooler is developed in a range of sizes, which are suitable for the volumes required by each destination.
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