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Northern Ghana’s Medical Stores boost vaccine storage

Managers of the Northern Regional Medical Stores say the facility can store vaccines in the right quantity for all the regions in Northern Ghana and some five others, should the need arise.

Fuseini Abdulai, the Technical Officer in charge of Disease Control at the Northern Regional Medical Stores, disclosed that their days of rushing to supply vaccines to various districts due to lack of storage facilities have come to an end.

Abdulai explained that the three walk-in cold rooms installed in 2001 were old and eventually broke down one after the other.

“Anytime there was stock from the national supply, and the space could not contain it, we quickly transferred some to Upper East and also called districts to rush in for emergency supply,” Abdulai stated.

“But with this JICA support, I can proudly say that after the national storage, we are next in terms of storage size.”

“With our new storage facility, we are the second largest. So I am confident that with this capacity, North-East, Northern Region, Savanna, and even five different regions’ consignments can be stored because our storage capacity is big enough,” he added.

He made these remarks to CitiNews after the Northern Regional Medical Stores took delivery of two walk-in cold rooms with a power generator to ensure a well-managed vaccine system for a resilient public health system from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

In his handing-over notes, the senior representative at JICA-Ghana, Oda Ryotaro, expressed hope that the walk-in cold rooms would complement existing vaccine storage facilities and further bridge access inequalities to quality routine vaccines in the Northern belt and beyond.

He urged the Regional Medical Stores to ensure a well-functioning cold chain system in the delivery of quality and accessible immunization services to help reduce morbidity and mortality associated with vaccination.

The former Director-General of Health, Dr. Elias K Sory, who was in attendance, called for the availability of resources to run the cold rooms as they would require a substantial amount of money to operate. He urged the Ministry of Health Services to exempt facilities in the public health area that do not generate funds internally from utility payments.


“We know the policy now is to let institutions be efficient, but there are certain public functions that should not be left on their own,” Dr. Sory emphasized.

“For instance, this facility is a public health facility, it doesn’t generate money. The vaccines go free to the people who need them. Yet when electricity is on, it has to be paid for. And as you can see, the walk-in cold rooms are intensive in their use of electricity to run. Therefore, I will still urge the GHS, wherever they can get such exemptions in letting such facilities be paid for by the government, they do it,” he concluded.

On his part, the Northern Regional Director of Health Services, Dr. Abukari Abdulai, expressed gratitude to JICA for the support.

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