Over two million children under the age of five die every year in India and another one million or more are disabled for life due to a lack of vaccination or the administration of ineffective vaccines. One of the major factors that render vaccines ineffective is the lack of a robust cold chain infrastructure. Many developing countries have inadequate cold chains – which means that optimal temperature-control mechanisms for the transport, storage and handling of vaccines are not in place. According to a research estimate, approximately 151 million vaccines, equivalent to approximately $750 million, are lost annually due to improper refrigeration in developing countries.
All vaccines lose potency on exposure to heat above 8°C, while some vaccines are affected when exposed to freezing temperatures. This damage is irreversible and can adversely impact anyone using such affected vaccines. It is therefore crucial that vaccines are stored at the ideal temperature range of 2-8 °C to avoid any wastage.
Godrej Appliances, one of the leading players in the home appliances industry, in partnership with UK-based Sure Chill Company, launched medical refrigerators with Sure Chill technology last year. These specialised refrigerators were designed especially to address the key need of providing precise cooling solutions for vaccines and blood, despite long power outages – common in upcountry remote areas in developing and underdeveloped countries. With holdover time of 13 days and just 2.5 hours of power requirement per day, the range was designed to handle extremities.
Taking this endeavour further, Godrej Appliances has expanded and strengthened its medical portfolio further by launching a range of 6 new models. Keeping in mind the needs of urban and peri- urban areas where power outages are infrequent, the new Lite series is designed with a holdover period of 3 days which gives sufficient time to service and fix the product in case of any downtime. The Lite series has been designed to offer 50% reduction in costs. In light of the limited budgets common to developing economies, this optimized series is expected to boost adoption of the superior Sure Chill Technology offered by Godrej Medical Refrigerators.
With the intent to further facilitate the government in its efforts towards 90% immunisation coverage – the mission adopted by Government for its Indradhanush program, Godrej Appliances has also developed an innovative standalone vaccine storage device in the form of a combined fridge freezer for remote health centres. Currently, for every ILR , the health center has to install a deep freezer , which calls for multiple machines to be serviced and maintained, and downtime on any one affects the outreach programs significantly. Godrej’s combo fridge freezer solution can also run on solar power – completely independently, and one such equipment can cater to 6 outreach programs in a week. This will give the government immense flexibility to set up more remote health facilities and boost actual immunisation coverage while its precision temperature control between 2-8°C will ensure maximum utilisation of vaccines.
Godrej Appliances has also identified blood storage as a space that needs technological innovation, as blood storage also requires maintenance of optimum temperature range of 2-6°C. Below 2°C, the blood haemolyses and transfusing heamolysed blood can cause renal failure and fatal bleeding problems and above 6°C blood is at the risk of bacterial contamination. Using the Sure chill technology, Godrej has developed innovative solutions for blood storage and will be focusing on making it available to hospitals and blood banks.
Since downtime of these machines affects the immunisation outreach programs and undermines immunisation coverage. Hence, the Godrej Smartcare service promise assumes critical importance here and we are committed to 48 hours of call closure in urban centers and 72 hours in rural centers. Backed by the assurance of 95% spares availability, wide service network and supported by longest hold over time in the product, this translates into reassuring ‘always on’ performance and no fear of vaccine wastage.
With this strong portfolio, Godrej aims to contribute to vaccine wastage efforts by 30 per cent in developing nations.