By Henry Uche
As the federal government grapples with the challenge of how to evenly distribute the proposed vaccines for COVID-19 across the country, Food Doctors Nigeria Limited (FDNL) says it has manufactured a new cold chain logistics vehicle to aid in the safe transportation and distribution of vaccines in Nigeria.
The Team Lead of FDNL, Awesu Joseph, who made this known in an interview with Journalists in Lagos recently, affirmed that the vehicle, “Cold Bike” was triggered by the need for a sustainable cold chain system that will ensure safe and speedy delivery of temperature – sensitive goods, such as COVID-19 vaccines.
The Food Safety expert noted that the purpose for the invention was to solve cold chain logistics problem in Nigeria adding that there was need to fill in the gap in the transportation/ logistics gap regarding the Corona virus ravaging the world.
Joseph maintained that the bike can be used to transport the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines at a recommended temperature even to remote areas of the country. He said, “We started a Fruit Break Initiative where we supply fruit salad to four schools in Ibadan. We needed safe and speedy delivery, and also for the fruits to be delivered before 10:00am daily, at three to one degrees Celsius.
“Temperature is critical to food safety; we did a research but couldn’t find a solution. So we decided to design a cold bike which will find application across the food, agriculture and vaccine value chain.
He explained that cold chain logistics was expensive in Nigeria, particularly as the major players are paying more attention on pharmaceutical products and that vaccine potency was subject to cold chain logistics while the unavailability of dry ice in the North-east region, rural and riverine communities could pose a challenge for the success of distribution and vaccination programmes.
He added, “Cold Bike has cooling capacity of minus 22°C; it comes with a temperature data logger which is used for cold trace. The cooling capacity can be charged using direct current (DC) battery charger. It also comes with an extra charger in case of necessity.
“The cooler is detachable and can be connected to any kind of energy source, for instance; 54 watts and 12 by 24 DC. It has a GPS tracker for real time tracking of the bike. Apart from the vaccines distribution, it will also help with data collection, monitoring and evaluation of effectiveness and patients’ response,” he pointed out.