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Meet the Welsh Business Tackling Deadly Diseases in Yemen

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Dulas, a leading manufacturer of solar power refrigerators in North Wales, has announced that it has been awarded contracts to supply several hundred Solar Vaccine Refrigerators to Yemen, under a programme of vaccination backed by both International and Yemani institutions. Further immunisation projects will be supported with additional shipments in the first quarter of 2019.

For Yemen, the orders come at a critical time for the country, as fighting between Houthi rebels and Government forces continues.  The challenges posed by the ongoing conflict have led to outbreaks of cholera, the effects exacerbated by ever increasing populations in temporary refugee accommodation.

Dulas’ solar refrigerators will be used to support the immunization needs in Yemen through a strong local partner network and international procurement organisations, through ongoing vaccine campaigns during 2019.

As part of ensuring the efficacy of its vaccine cold-chain, Dulas will additionally provide its Vaccine Guard technology as part of the delivery – a real time remote temperature monitoring systems. The Vaccine Guards report live data from the Dulas refrigerators via the GSM networks 24/7, and immediately send SMS and email notifications, should the vaccines be at risk. The Vaccine Guards also enable remote report generation, which traditionally would be prepared with manual temperature readings recorded by pen and paper, enabling the business to monitor the usage of its fridges, ensuring temperatures are kept within vaccine specified parameters and that the deterioration of vaccines from incorrect cooling may be monitored.

As Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance – and other NGOs look at how to address some of the remaining challenges in so called last mile vaccination, innovations from Dulas in solar powered fridges, vacuum panel insulation to prevent freezing, and the Vaccine Guard monitoring technology have collectively combined to begin to address the challenge of ensuring that the storage and delivery in the most challenging regions is ultimately efficacious.

“We’ve been working in Yemen for 20 years and throughout that time have seen some of the successes of the continued investment by Gavi and other aid partners,” said Guy Watson, Head of International Solar, Dulas.  Over the course of that involvement we’ve travelled extensively, supporting the primary health care needs of the country, not only in the delivery of our innovative cold chain equipment but also in providing training programmes with the Ministry of Health to ensure the successful longevity of vaccine and immunization campaigns.”

“Continuing to support the primary health care needs in Yemen, especially in the current hostile environment is embedded in our mission, and highlights the passion we all have to assist the poorest global communities with improved primary health care.”

“As a British company, working into international organizations, we’re proud to be an integral part of the global vaccine supply chain – helping to vaccinate against preventable diseases in some of the world’s most remote regions.”

“And, having been an early pioneer of innovative solutions to tackle the complexities of delivering vaccinations in remote and war torn communities, we’ve endeavoured to keep our impetus of new approaches to tackle the last mile vaccine challenge,” he said.

Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance said:

“Vaccines often travel thousands upon thousands of miles to reach the children that desperately need them. However the hardest part of that journey is often the very last mile, particularly when it comes to remote parts of Africa and Asia. Innovative cold chain solutions that ensure the effective storage and distribution of these lifesaving vaccines, like those from Dulas, are crucial if we are to ensure no child is left unprotected from deadly diseases.  Dulas has been an important partner to Gavi for many years, and I hope will remain so for many years to come.”