Bogor, 18 November 2020 — Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Wednesday called on the importance of temperature-control in vaccine distribution to ensure the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine vials during the upcoming nationwide immunization drive.

Mr. Widodo made the statement after visiting a community health center, or Puskesmas, in the West Java city of Bogor, where he witnessed a simulation of health workers administering a vaccine.

“Distributing vaccines is not easy,” said Mr. Widodo during a press conference outside Tanah Sareal Puskesmas.

“Vaccines require specific temperature treatment, [therefore] delivering vaccines will have specific requirements in accordance to the type of vaccine, and this needs to be well-prepared to ensure that each region not only receives the vaccine, but that it is untainted,” he added.

Vaccine logistics is a key challenge in Indonesia, a vast archipelagic nation spanning more than 13, 000 islands with three time zones

Tanah Sareal Puskesmas is one of the Indonesian community health centers supported by SMILE, a joint initiative on digitizing vaccine cold chain, run by the Ministry of Health and UNDP since 2018.

SMILE (Sistem Monitoring Imunisasi Logistik secara Elektronik) is an innovative platform that allows vaccinators to instantly monitor vaccine cold chain logistics and storage temperature, using digital technology and mobile phone application.

The initiative was also developed with financial support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. SMILE’s objective is in with GAVI’s global mission to sustain high immunisation coverage and ensure equal access to life-saving vaccines.

The Mayor of Bogor, Bima Arya Sugiarto, accompanied the President to the health center and was shown the SMILE application and its implementation in the cold chain room. Mr. Sugiarto expressed interest in the operation of the system.

SMILE involves a mobile app for cold chain handlers, a web interface for data storage, and a temperature log that monitors the storage temperature of vaccines to ensure that quality vaccines are delivered as required in a timely manner.

The management of vaccine distribution has come under scrutiny during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new restrictions on movement have made it more difficult for vaccinators to deliver vaccines on time, to conduct timely checks and to monitor the efficacy of the vaccine vials.

A recent joint report by UNICEF and the Ministry of Health has revealed that 84 percent of health facilities across Indonesia have seen a disruption in their immunization services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Digital technology is the way forward and SMILE provides much needed accurate data and monitoring to helps address critical issues in healthcare delivery in Indonesia.

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Media Contact

UNDP Indonesia, Tomi Soetjipto, Communication Specialist, suryo.tomi@undp.org

UNDP Indonesia, HEART Project, Nadine Kamila Hassan, Knowledge Management and Learning Officer, nadine.kamila.hassan@undp.org 

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