Johannesburg, South Africa: The South African Department of Health and the World Health Organisation held a national training course for cold chain and depot managers to improve effective vaccine storage and handling.
The move follows the implementation of the 2011 Post Introduction Evaluation of New Vaccines recommendations for South Africa.
The training was the first of its kind in South Africa. It covered the following areas: proper vaccine storage temperatures and handling; temperature monitoring tools including vaccine vial monitoring, multi dose vial policy; vaccine forecasting and stock management; monitoring Vaccine wastage; preventing freezing and practicing the Shake Test; estimating vaccine volume and cold chain capacity; knowing the types of cold chain equipment; contingency planning.
The participants agreed on the following recommendations:
- Review of cold chain equipment database
- Develop a national standard operating procedure for temperature monitoring for vaccine management at all levels
- Standardise cold chain equipment nationally by highlighting the minimum acceptable standards and specifications for these
- Standardise temperature monitoring devices nationally by recommending the monitoring devices to be used at all levels
- Implement wastage (“usage”) monitoring at provincial level at sentinel sites in 2013