India is a leading producer and exporter of vaccines, but the country is home to one-third of the world’s unimmunized children. According to information provided by Health Affairs, a journal of health policy thought and research, fewer than 44 per cent of India’s young children receive the full schedule of immunizations.
According to University of Michigan, only 18 per cent of children are vaccinated with the recommended three doses of diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus (DPT) vaccine, while about one third receive measles vaccination under government-supported immunizationprograms. A number of factors contribute to children not receiving regular vaccination, the most important being difficult access to hospitals in rural India. Even then, while children may be vaccinated, the vaccines are stored in ice to temperatures where the vaccines lose their potency.
Every year over two million children under the age of five die in India and another one million or more are disabled for life due to a lack of vaccination or the administration of ineffective vaccines. One of the major factors that render vaccines ineffective is the lack of a robust cold chain infrastructure. Many developing countries have inadequate cold chains – which means that optimal temperature-control mechanisms for the transport, storage and handling of vaccines are not in place. According to a research estimate, approximately 151 million vaccines, equivalent to approximately $750 million, are lost annually due to improper refrigeration in developing countries.
The quality of vaccines could be at risk as up to 80 per cent of India’s hospitals are not storing them properly, experts have warned amid a surge in demand because of a vaccine scare on the mainland.Instead of using Vaccine refrigerators designed to protect drugs at specific temperatures, many private doctors are using ordinary domestic fridges. This has exposed a potential loophole in regulation as the government has only inspected the storage of dangerous drugs over the past three years.According to guidelines issued by the WHO, domestic fridges are less ideal due to “crude and inaccurate” temperature setting and fluctuation.
Since vaccines are sensitive to both heat and cold so they are need to be kept between 2°C and 8°C from the point of manufacture to the point of use. The recent global push to deliver anti-retroviral drugs and services to HIV-positive patients worldwide has introduced new cold chain requirements. Blood, HIV rapid test kits, pediatric ARV drugs, and a variety of testing reagents all must be stored in climate controlled conditions. Properly refrigerated and stored blood is critical to HIV treatment efforts in developing countries. In order to keep blood useable, blood bank refrigerators need to keep internal temperatures between 2°C to 6°C all day, every day.
In many developing countries, reliable power is rarely available. Access to grid power, especially for rural facilities, simply may not be available. This lack of power or lack of steady power jeopardizes the ability of hospitals or blood banks to store safe vaccine and blood components. All vaccines lose potency on exposure to heat above 8°C, while some vaccines are affected when exposed to freezing temperatures. This damage is irreversible and can adversely impact anyone using such affected temperatures. Similarly below 2°C, the blood haemolyses and transfusing haemolysed blood can cause renal failure and fatal bleeding problems and above 6°C blood is at the risk of bacterial contamination.
With the intent to strengthen the medical cold chain, Godrej Appliances, one of the leading players in the home appliances industry, in partnership with UK-based Sure chill Company, launched Vaccine and Blood Bank refrigerators with Surechill technology last year. Godrej Vaccine and Blood Bank Refrigerators address the key need of providing precise cooling solutions for storing Vaccine/Blood Bags even under long power outage conditions quite prevalent across Urban, Semi Urban and Rural areas within the country. The Operating Surechill technology guarantees “No Freeze” areas within Storage chamber, extended holdover to maintain temperatures within 2-8 deg in case of breakdowns or power outages.
The Surechill technology, core to this refrigerator, is based on the scientific principle that water is densest at 4deg. C, which happens also to be the ideal temperature for storing vaccines/Blood Bags. The technology harnesses this natural phenomenon to create a constantly chilled environment within the refrigeration unit-whether there is power or not. It is so reliable that it will maintain a completely steady temperature for 10 days or more after power has been interrupted. This is achieved through the movement of dense water at 4deg C, generated as the system’s ice bank interacts with warmer water circulating within the unit. Once power has been used to generate the ice bank in the first instance, the Surechill technology channels the supply of naturally generated 4deg C water to the refrigeration compartment without the need for any further power.
Godrej Vaccine Refrigerators are available in five SKUs based in Literage and Operating power source -
- GVR 50 AC, GVR 100 AC and GVR 225 AC running on Grid power.
- GVR 50 DC and GVR 100DC running on Direct Solar power.
Solar powered Solutions available in the market, to tide over power issues, run on inverters and battery power bank. These have issues of Inverter failure over 2-3 periods, Maintenance of batteries, Tapering efficiencies of Batteries and Shorter life span of the same, leading to additional investments during the life cycle of the Vaccine storage unit.Godrej Vaccine storage solar solution overcomes these issues and eliminated Inverter and batteries altogether. Solar Panels power the device directly, leading fewer parts, lesser chance of failure and maintenance cost. These are available in five SKUs based in Literage and Operating power source -GVR 50 DC and GVR 100DC running on Direct Solar power
Recently, Godrej launched Lite series models which are lighter, slimmer, come at 50% reduced cost and runs on AC mains. These refrigerators comes with an externally readable data logger which records up to 30 day’s temperature reading and offers five customizable temperature alarm settings. The Lite series include –
- GVR 51 Lite
- GVR 75 Lite
- GVR 99 Lite
The Godrej blood bank refrigerator comes with robust construction and technical design, automatic frost-free design, temperature recorder with a battery back-up to maintain uninterrupted chart record, and minimal maintenance requirements. Automatic defrost maintains an optimum cooling temperature inside the refrigerator. Godrej appliances has also developed Blood Storage Solar Direct drive Refrigerators which eliminates the use of inverters and batteries thus leading to fewer parts, lesser chance of failure and low maintenance cost.
Currently, Godrej precooled Blood storage refrigerators are available in five SKU’s based on Literage and Operating Power source –
- GBR 50 AC , GBR 100AC & GBR 225AC running on Grid power
- GBR 50 DC , GBR 100 DC running on Direct Solar power
Key Features of Godrej Medical refrigerators:
- Sure Chill Technology which guarantees never to freeze vaccines.
- Environment friendly- CFC, HFC and HCFC free
- Minimizes thermal shock during usage compared to conventional refrigerator
- Externally readable digital display thermometer
- Additional Voltage stabilizer for Ac refrigerators and Surge protector for DC refrigerators
- WHO PQS pre-qualified.
- Refrigerator continues to operate on only 2.5 hrs./ day power at 43 deg ambient.
India is the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines, but it is sad that the country has the largest number of un-immunised children as close to seven million. In this hour of need, SureChill technology can prove to be a strong brick in the whole medical cold chain infrastructure. Using this technology, Godrej aims to reduce 30% in global vaccine wastage.