HANOI, Vietnam, April 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The National Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (NICVB), the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) and Zuellig Pharma have officially announced a project to expand access to vaccines in Vietnam through the use of eZCooler — an innovative packaging technology that ensures the integrity of temperature sensitive products to the last mile of transportation. The US$600,000 project was launched during a kick-off meeting on 17 April 2019 under the chairmanship of Dr. Doan Huu Thien, Director at NICVB.
Under the agreement, Zuellig Pharma will contribute hundreds of the innovative eZCooler, a temperature-controlled packaging solution to maintain product quality during transportation, therefore expanding access to vaccines in the country, particularly in remote areas. Zuellig Pharma will also cooperate with NICVB and NIHE to provide training to employees of the Medical Prevention Departments in 6 provinces on international standards and Good Storage Practices for cold chain supply management and usage of eZCooler.
Leaders from Zuellig Pharma, MOH, NICVB, NIHE and Directors from the Service of Health of the 6 provinces involved in the eZCooler project
Present at the meeting were Dr. Nguyen Minh Hang, Vice-Director of the Medical Preventive Center at MOH, Mr. Nguyen Dinh Anh, Director of Communications at MOH, Dr. Doan Huu Thien, Director at NICVB, Ms. Beatrice Mallor Maser, Ambassador of Switzerland to Vietnam, Mr. John Davison, Chief Executive Officer at Zuellig Pharma, Mr. Yves Hermes, Area Director Southeast Asia at Zuellig Pharma and Mr. Marc Franck, Chief Executive at Zuellig Pharma Vietnam.
The project aims to support the Vietnam Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), initiated by the MOH in 1981 with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The nation’s public health program has since benefitted millions of women and children. Ensuring the highest standards of cold chain for vaccines will further contribute to the success of the EPI.
According to the EPI plan, the MOH has goals to improve the proportion of vaccination in areas that are at high risk of outbreaks, and in areas which are geographically difficult to reach, such as remote, mountainous or island areas. In view of this, Zuellig Pharma will contribute eZCooler with 3 capacities (8 litre, 12 litre and 96 litre) in 6 northern provinces including Hai Duong, Bac Ninh, Quang Ninh, Ha Giang, Son La and Yen Bai.
Dr. Doan Huu Thien, Director at NICVB shared: "To meet the goal of the EPI, we faced many challenges such as access to local health centers in remote areas, changes in temperature through different seasons and regions, and limited transport systems in remote areas. The importance of maintaining the cold chain to protect the prescribed temperatures during transport is crucial in helping to ensure the integrity and quality of pharmaceuticals as well as patient safety. We highly appreciate the support from Zuellig Pharma Vietnam to share the innovative eZCooler technology to benefit the Vietnamese community. It definitely creates a premise for the sustainable development of the cold chain supply chain in Vietnam".
Mr. Marc Franck, Chief Executive at Zuellig Pharma Vietnam shared at the launch: "According to Business Monitor International, Vietnam’s healthcare expenditure was estimated at US$16.1 billion in 2017, representing 7.5% of its GDP and the figure will grow at 12.5% a year to $22.7 billion by 2021. Vaccines and cold chain products make up a significant part of this expenditure. Zuellig Pharma is honored to contribute our innovative solutions to this project to ensure that everyone in the country has easy access to vaccines. We have been entrusted by companies around the world to undertake the supply of pharmaceuticals for nearly a hundred years in Asia and 20 years in Vietnam. Today, we are happy to be able to share our expertise and technology with the Vietnamese government and will work closely together with all parties to make healthcare more accessible in the country".
eZCooler is a sophisticated new packaging solution that ensures the integrity of temperature-sensitive products to the last mile of transportation. The solution is designed and manufactured using a single insulation system to maintain a specific pharmaceutical temperature for up to five days, making healthcare more accessible to places across Asia, especially in remote or rural areas.
It is essential that vaccines are stored continuously at a temperature of between 2 degree Celsius to 8 degree Celsius. Any deviation or interruption in the cold chain from production, storage, transport and use can potentially damage the integrity of the vaccine, resulting in reduced efficacy and safety in treatment.
Other advantages of eZCooler that outweigh traditional cold chain storage solutions with foam containers include:
- Rigorous compliance with regulations: By restricting the storage temperature of a product to an allowed threshold, eZCooler allows pharmaceutical products in transit to be stored at the manufacturer’s required temperature and for close guidance by medical authorities throughout the entire cold chain.
- Ensures product integrity: All 6 sides of eZCooler have vacuum insulation panels to ensure a stable internal storage temperature no matter the external environment and without any reliance on external energy sources.
- Environmentally friendly: By completely eliminating the use of disposable foam containers and replacing them with the reusable eZCooler , the project will contribute to reducing waste and carbon emissions.
- Economically friendly: With regular maintenance, the eZCooler can continue to provide temperature controlled transportation for vaccines for years.
- Customizable volumes: eZCooler is developed in a range of sizes, which is suitable for the volume required by each destination.
About Zuellig Pharma
Zuellig Pharma is one of the largest healthcare services groups in Asia and our purpose is to make healthcare more accessible. The company was started almost a hundred years ago and has grown to become a US$13 billion business with over 13,000 employees. Our people serve over 350,000 medical facilities in 13 markets in Asia.
Established in Vietnam in 1999, Zuellig Pharma Vietnam has been trying to affirm its brand in the Vietnamese market. Aside from being one of the largest multinational pharmaceutical service providers in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry in Vietnam, Zuellig Pharma also carries out numerous corporate social responsibility activities, and works to promote the development of the pharmaceutical industry in Vietnam together with the Ministry of Health. One of these initiatives includes the above-mentioned project on vaccine supply chain management and quality assurance.
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