United Kingdom

Uganda Network

The Cold Chain



To be effective vaccines need to be kept cool that is between 0C to -80C. The cost of each vaccine is not expensive - £3.50, but the need to transport the vaccines in refrigerated containers increases the cost. In this country fridges are common and certainly all doctor's surgeries and health centres will have one. Vaccines are manufactured abroad and brought to Uganda by plane. They are stored initially in cold stores at Entebbe. Uganda is about as large as the United Kingdom but the roads and transport facilities are not nearly as sophisticated.

Although electricity is available in many parts of Uganda it is not always reliable so gas fridges are used which are expensive. Kerosene is also required to sterilise the needles and syringes which is also expensive. It is vitally important that the vaccine given to babies is in good condition and that it has not deteriorated due to changes in temperature. A system has been developed to make sure the vaccine arrives in good condition.

Vans deliver the vaccine to district vaccine stores. From these stores the vaccine is delivered to static units from which outreach workers take the vaccine to individual clinics. They travel on boats, buses, by taxi or even walk. Many of the mothers have to travel more than five km to take their children for vaccination. There is little public transport in Uganda so they usually walk.

90% of the population live in rural areas so it is a huge operation to get vaccine in good condition to the immunisation centres. It has still not been possible to deliver vaccines to all districts in Uganda and money raised in 1994 will support both the work of the Uganda National Expanded Programme for Immunisation and support the Scouts in developing their education for the immunisation programme.



Programme Ideas

How Far to go

1. Using a road map of the United Kingdom and the following criteria find out how many towns and villages in your locality would have immunisation clinics.

  • Vaccines can be brought to your nearest city by plane.
  • Trucks can deliver these to towns and villages within a 25 mile radius.
  • The vaccines now have to be transported in cool-boxes and are only viable for three days.
  • Two days transport is available by bicycle and one day on foot.

Ask the Scouts to determine how far they could travel by bike and on foot.

Identify all the towns and villages which would be able to receive vaccine in good condition. Can the Scouts think of ways of delivering vaccine in good condition to other villages?

What would the effect of this system be on:

a) The transporters time?
b) The time for mothers taking children to centres?
c) The lines of communication, for example would crossing rivers mean more people could attend the clinics?


Contact the Uganda Network Copyright © The UK Uganda Network - 2002
Last modified 6 January 2004


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