Dulas, a leading British solar refrigeration manufacturer and renewable energy specialist has won a contract to supply a combined total of 345 VC200 Solar Direct Drive fridges, used to safely store vaccines, to agencies working in Yemen, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
The deal demonstrates the success of the company’s latest solar refrigerator technology and large-scale logistical capabilities, and represents a significant expansion of the firm’s partnerships with the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF, and the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria.
Storing vaccines and blood samples at the correct temperature in remote regions, or any area where access to electricity may be sporadic or the climate extremely hot, is an on-going challenge for health programmes. Likewise, difficulties in the transport of vaccines to remote or isolated areas can similarly hinder relief agencies’ ability to carry out immunisation projects.
Dulas’ recently designed Solar Direct Drive Vaccine Refrigerators, developed with funding from a joint EU and Welsh Government R&D project, use the sun’s energy to keep vaccines cool. With a revolutionary new thermal energy storage solution, they can be deployed in environments where other cold chain systems will struggle to store vaccines safely, even during extended periods of bad weather. Furthermore, by developing a trusted network of freight forwarders, Dulas has facilitated their distribution from the company’s base in Wales throughout the world.
The recently signed contract with the Institute of Human Virology will see Dulas make use of this distributor network to send 60 units to Nigeria. A further 143 units will go towards the WHO’s work in Yemen, with 142 units supporting UNICEF’s work in Sierra Leone, and there is the potential for further orders in the near future.
For the Institute of Human Virology project, Dulas’ freight forwarder will transport the refrigerators to Nigeria by sea. Once they reach the port of Lagos, they will then move overland to the agencies’ network of medical facilities and be installed by Dulas’ experienced in-country partners.
The new units are expected to be delivered within eight weeks on all three projects, to be used in programmes helping to fights AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
“The design and capabilities of Dulas’ vaccine refrigerators are a major step forward, allowing us to more efficiently cool and freeze samples for preservation in turbulent areas or those that are particularly difficult to reach,” said Opute Ifeoma Rosemary, Associate Director, Procurement at the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria. “But the company’s experience in deploying that technology effectively and efficiently was a crucial consideration in awarding this contract.”
“We have deployed our fridges to over 30 countries in the last year, supporting numerous public health initiatives from the treatment of Ebola in West Africa to assisting in the fallout from a typhoon in the Philippines,” commented Guy Watson, Head of International Operations at Dulas. “We will continue to invest not only in this technology itself, but also in our capacity to deliver these units to some of the most inaccessible regions of the world, helping to provide much-needed access to vaccination programmes.”