8 May 2007
South Africa’s Department of Health has received an award for implementing vaccine vial monitors, aimed at improving access to immunisation.
Vaccine vial monitors clear warn if a vaccine is likely to have been damaged by heat and has been used over the past 10 years, making it possible for more children in more places to be immunised.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the use of vaccine vial monitors saves US$5-million worth of vaccines annually through reducing wastage. It has also improved immunisation access and coverage, while pinpointing cold-chain problems and enabling effectively managed vaccine stocks.
The organisation is this year celebrating a decade of using vaccine vial monitors.
The WHO presented South Africa’s deputy director-general of health, Nthari Matsau, with a certificate of recognition at their Geneva, Switzerland headquarters during the weekend.
“The Republic of South Africa’s involvement in the early stages of development, through conduct of field studies for the implementation of vaccine vial monitors, was critical for the successful ten years.” the WHO said in an invitation letter to the department
“The WHO would like to award the Republic of South Africa with a recognition certificate for its contribution to global public health.”
Vaccine vial monitors have played a crucial role in overcoming challenges related to safe delivery of vaccines, especially in hot climates where vaccine refrigeration is weak or non-existent.
Meanwhile, a health department representative to Geneva, Daisy Mafubelu has commenced her duties as the assistant director-general of the WHO responsible for family and community health.
Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang appointed Mafubelu as a South African Health Ambassador to the organisation in Geneva in 2003. Before that Mafubelu was a deputy director-general at the Free State Department of Health.
In a statement, the department wished Mafubelu all the best in her new role.
“We believe that her appointment to this very senior position at the WHO will ensure that the health interest of the African continent is represented at the highest level of this global health organisation.”