FAO and the Government of South Sudan triples capacity of livestock cold chain

FAO and the Government of South Sudan triples capacity of livestock cold chain

08/12/2015

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with the national Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Industry (MLFI), has more than tripled the number of refrigerators and freezers for storing veterinary medicines and vaccines. This has contributed to strengthening South Sudan’s cold chain system and is helping overcome the challenges of providing livestock support in hard-to-reach areas of the country.

The ongoing conflict has caused abnormal migrations of pastoralists and their livestock, increasing risks of disease outbreaks. A functional cold chain system is therefore integral in remote areas as cold chain equipment – such as refrigerators, freezers and cold boxes – keep vaccines viable up until livestock teams and community-based animal health workers reach targeted cattle camps.

“We have been working hard, together with the Government, to re-establish the cold chain in order to deliver vaccines safely and efficiently to all parts of the country,” said Serge Tissot, FAO Representative in South Sudan. “Vaccinating livestock has been one of FAO’s core activities since the onset of the crises and we have now put in place 102 solar direct drive refrigerators and 16 electrical refrigerators and freezers, which more than triples the number of functional livestock vaccine refrigerators this year, from 42 to 160.”

“But more importantly, we have trained technicians to install, repair and manage the equipment. And we will continue working with MLFI on this great initiative to guarantee healthy livestock and control disease outbreaks for the coming years,” he said.

Over the past two weeks FAO has intensively trained over 24 cold chain technicians and livestock officers to install and manage the newly donated solar and electrical refrigerators in all states and at national level. The solar direct drive technology is new for all participants; however, with this training the technicians will be able to carry out installation, preventive and corrective maintenance, as well as know how to manage a continuous temperature monitoring device for the efficient delivery of vaccines from the primary cold chain down to the cattle camps.

Speaking during the closing ceremony of the graduation of the cold chain and vaccine management technicians in Juba, Mathew Gordon, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, urged the graduates to apply their newly gained knowledge and maintain the cold chain system. “You are young, you have acquired this knowledge now and you’re going to acquire more, try to apply what you have learned,” he said.

When the installations of the recently supplied refrigerators are concluded, South Sudan will have a stronger cold chain that reaches to all states and counties. The central cold chain hub, located at MLFI in Gudele, has recently been restored and three other main cold chain hubs in Wau, Rumbek and Torit have been strengthened. In addition, 50 portable solar refrigerators were already in place to facilitate vaccination campaigns in hard-to-reach areas.

“By advancing technologies and replacing kerosene refrigerators with solar direct drive refrigerators, cold chain facilities can operate safely with minimum preventive maintenance and literally no need of kerosene, and other running costs,” explains Wudu Melaku, FAO’s cold chain specialist.

Over USD 1.2 million of cold chain equipment has been delivered by FAO through funding from the Governments of the United States of America, Denmark, United Kingdom, Norway and Africa Solidarity Fund.