One year on
Over the past year, we have been supporting the Ministry of Public Health in the reconstruction of a new and improved warehouse for medical equipment in the port area – a critical point of entry and storage for supplies that was heavily damaged by the explosions. The explosions destroyed around nine cold rooms in the Ministry’s warehouses. We have since reallocated UNICEF-procured cold rooms from other areas in the country to the Government-run public hospital in Beirut where vaccine stock is now stored. We also provided fuel to guarantee their proper functioning.
To maintain uninterrupted routine immunization, UNICEF installed two additional cold-rooms at the Government-supported hospital in Beirut. UNICEF has long supported Lebanon’s cold chain, procuring around 800 fridges and 400 solar-powered fridges in addition to cold rooms. This year, we have secured 3 additional prefabricated cold rooms that arrived from Copenhagen in July 2021, and we are currently supporting the construction of 11 built-in cold-rooms in the Ministry’s planned warehouse facility. Given power shortages in the country, the facility will be solar-powered.
We have also conducted effective vaccine management (EVM) and cold-chain assessment beyond Beirut to support the health system in Lebanon and identify the gaps for improvement. We have also supported the Government with the COVID-19 pandemic response, where we conducted a nation-wide assessment of over 50 hospitals to check the cold chain infrastructure and identify the cold chain capacity of the country. While private hospitals have ultra-cold chain, some public hospitals do not. UNICEF installed three ultra-cold chain rooms in the Government-supported hospital in Beirut, which proved to be a critical step in preparation for the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines procured through the COVAX Facility.
Supply operations – from replenishing critical supplies and restoring the cold chain to helping rebuild destroyed warehouse facilities – are supplying a lifeline to Lebanon that is now more critical than ever. Children in Lebanon need our support.
A shorter version of this story and interview appeared in the 2020 Supply Annual Report on pages 44 and 51 respectively.