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Strengthening Cold Chain Capacity in Nepal

A new cold storage facility, funded by Direct Relief, will expand the health system's ability to store temperature-sensitive therapies.


Cold Chain

Direct Relief staff prep temperature sensitive therapies for Covid-19 patients in Nepal inside a 2,800-square-foot cold room at Direct Relief's headquarters in Santa Barbara, on Sept. 29, 2021. The organization committed $275,000 to expand cold chain storage capacity in the country, and a dedicated facility is expected to come online in early 2023.(Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)

Nepal’s first modern cold chain facility is nearing completion and will help strengthen the country’s capacity to store temperature-sensitive therapies, including Covid-19 vaccines and other immunizations. An official handover took place in Kathmandu last week, and the cold storage facility is expected to come online in early 2023.

The building, which has a 1,500 sq. ft. footprint, moved forward thanks to a $275,000 grant from Direct Relief to strengthen the cold storage capacity of the health system. Following the severe Covid-19 outbreak in Nepal last year, Direct Relief offered Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population a donation of monoclonal antibody therapies from Eli Lilly.

The donation highlighted a critical need for expanded cold storage in the country, and Direct Relief committed $275,000 to build a dedicated cold chain building on behalf of the Ministry, complete with solar backup power. A handover occurred last week between local NGO One Heart Worldwide, a group that organized the construction project, to officials from the Ministry of Health and Population.

Increasing Cold Chain Capacity Globally

Each year, the amount of temperature-sensitive therapies shipped by Direct Relief globally increases, and the need for the medications like vaccines, insulin, cancer therapies and other drugs often exceeds the ability to safely store the medicines within the temperature range once they arrive. The organization distributed $577 million in cold chain medications in its 2021 fiscal year — free of charge.

At the same time, Direct Relief is working to improve cold chain systems at the national and local levels in countries around the world through financial grants, donations of refrigeration equipment, and expertise.

The organization will continue to invest in cold chain capacity and resilient power, including solar power and battery storage, so that communities across the globe have access to therapies and treatments that rely on consistent temperatures.

Direct Relief Cold Chain Initiative

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