The miracle of vaccines is undeniable, but what about the delivery and storage mechanisms that get them where they need to go? What is the social value of having reliable cold chains maintaining the strict temperature ranges demanded by vaccines, even in the harshest of climates?
B Medical Systems has found that their vaccine refrigeration units can avert a social cost of almost 4.5 million dollars per unit over its 10-year lifespan. Reliability of a cold chain unit is also critical to overall financial and social cost. It was found that each breakdown results in a social cost of up to 15 thousand dollars per breakdown per cold chain. These findings encompass numerous lives lost and illnesses that could have otherwise been prevented by effective vaccines.
The first case study was conducted by surveying 245 health centres in Kano, Nigeria with B Medical cold chain units. That research estimated the adverted social costs from an average B Medical cold chain unit for a full set of vaccines, as recommended by WHO, was $4,497,356 (PPP) over its 10-year lifespan. Additionally, it concluded that the 245 B Medical units in Kano have the capacity to save over 6,000 lives and prevent over 37,700 cases of illness in the next decade. These figures were calculated using a per-vaccine prevented illness model, which estimated treatment costs, illness productivity losses, disability productivity losses and mortality productivity losses based on global research and data.
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The second case study used data on 1,632 solar direct drive (SDD) units from over 5,000 surveys collected across Nigerian healthcare centres, using a Magpi (http://home.magpi.com/) mobile survey. This data was used to analyze the reliability of SDD cold chain units and the effect that reliability has on the social costs. Following this survey, researchers added the vaccine wastage, time and travel costs to the social value model to arrive at a per-breakdown social value cost. The research concluded that per cold chain unit breakdown, the social cost ranges from $10,770 to $14,828 (PPP). The cost of vaccine wastage alone was $9,153 per breakdown of an average sized SDD unit. In a 12-month period, the reported number of breakdowns in Nigeria could have been responsible for over 300 lives lost and over 122,000 children going unvaccinated.
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