India has one of the largest Universal Immunization Programs in the world. The program budgets more than US$ 500 million every year for immunizing children against vaccine preventable diseases, including the polio eradication program. The country is presently developing new strategies to increase immunization coverage and reach more children with quality vaccines. These efforts are challenged by the problems of securing adequate quality and quantity of vaccines for the program. In addition, deficiencies in vaccine management and high wastage increase vaccine demand and inflate overall program cost.
Vaccine management and logistics were some of the key issues that were critically appraised in the National UIP Review conducted in 2004. Some of the specific shortcomings observed were:
- Large differences between reported and evaluated coverage was impacting vaccine supply;
- Instances of shortages and stock-outs of different vaccines were affecting the immunization activities at different levels;
- Wastage was high and not monitored;
- There was no matching of vaccine requirements and supplies at lower levels;
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.
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 vaccines. It is therefore crucial that vaccines are stored at the ideal temperature range of 2-8 °C to avoid any wastage.
With the intent to facilitate the government in its efforts towards 90% immunization coverage and to contribute towards 30% reduction in Global Vaccine Wastage efforts, Godrej Appliances,one of the leading players in the home appliances industry, in partnership with UK-based Sure chill Company, has launched medical refrigerators with Surechill technology last year with the main objective to improve health through effective immunization programs and save lives worldwide.Godrej Vaccine Refrigerators address the key need of providing precise cooling solutions for storing Vaccine 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. 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.
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.
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.
The new developed Lite series models are lighter, slimmer and come at 50% reduced cost. They come 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
Key Features of Godrej Vaccine refrigerators:
- Sure Chill Technology guarantees never to freeze vaccines.
- Environment friendly- CFC, HFC and HCFC free
- WHO PQS pre-qualified.
- Refrigerator continues to operate on only 2.5 hrs./ day power at 43 deg ambient.
- Does not rely on batteries to store energy during periods of no power
- Built in intelligent control, early warning and energy management system.
Godrej believes these innovative solutions will give the government immense flexibility to set up more remote health facilities and boost actual immunization coverage while its precision temperature control between 2-8deg will ensure maximum utilization of vaccines.