To celebrate the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) ‘World Immunisation Week’, Dulas, a leading UK cold chain manufacturer, is pleased to announce the winners of their competition for a solar power vaccine refrigerator are Set4Life Australia (S4LA).

S4LA is a grassroots not-for-profit organisation whose work in Yiben, Sierra Leone, supports WHO’s aims to address the gaps in global immunisation outreach. It is isolated communities such as Yiben, which has no road access and requires half a day’s travel to reach the nearest hospital, that provide a particularly significant challenge for vaccine outreach and delivery.

This ‘last mile’ of the vaccine supply chain is the most difficult part, as it involves transporting vaccines to remote communities and maintaining efficacy when in storage. Supported by S4LA, the community has constructed a health centre to serve the healthcare needs of the region. However, the centre’s unreliable power source makes maintaining the temperature range necessary to keep vaccinations effective whilst in storage impossible. Currently, vaccines are brought into Yiben on foot, by boat, or by bike from the district hospital as required.

Innovative cold chain solutions, such as Dulas’ solar power refrigerators, address these issues by ensuring the effective storage and distribution of lifesaving vaccines where they’re most needed.

The VC30SDD refrigerator donated by Dulas has an autonomy time of over 72 hours which will keep the vaccines safe when there is no direct sunlight, while its compact size will allow for easy transportation to the Yiben health centre.

Minkailu Bantama, community coordinator for S4LA and manager of the health project, said: “Yiben and the surrounding area are some of the most remote and deprived communities in Sierra Leone. A fridge in Yiben will save many lives. Without it, essential medicines will spoil.”

Guy Watson, Head of Solar International at Dulas, said: “This refrigerator will enable the health centre to store their life-saving vaccines locally, as well as support S4LA in expanding the scope of their recently established Maternal and Child Health Post in Yemen, as it begins to serve the many communities in the region”.

The refrigerator will be sent to the health centre from Machynlleth this week, and will be delivered and installed in Yiben by CEC Engineering, Dulas’ local partners in Sierra Leone.