Maintaining a consistent cold chain is an essential part of providing effective immunization services. The ELMA Vaccines and Immunization Foundation engaged JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. to help expand cold chain capacity, improve immunization coverage, and support the introduction of rotavirus vaccination in Zimbabwe. The grant enabled JSI to explore a model for cold chain expansion and program enhancement with the MOHCC/ZEPI, alongside the introduction of rotavirus and other new vaccines.
In Zimbabwe, a key recommendation included in the 2012 Zimbabwe Essential Vaccine Management (EVM) Assessment Report was the upgrading of the current equipment used to secure a cold chain. Although a limited number of new solar refrigerators had been procured for Zimbabwe, a rigorous cost-benefit analysis had not been performed to address this recommendation.
This project contributed to the country’s evidence base and inform national decision-making around which types and sizes of solar refrigerators are most appropriate and cost-effective in different settings and at different levels of the health system. This evidence included a cost-benefit analysis of the phased replacement of gas refrigerators with battery-less, solar-powered refrigerators in non-electrified health facilities.
JSI supported the Government of Zimbabwe in transitioning to solar refrigerators in the most cost-effective way possible. The project’s analysis of the MOHCC’s equipment options served not just the government, but also other development partners such as UNICEF, Econet, GAVI, and USAID who have helped finance cold chain expansion in recent years to support the introduction of new vaccines.