Solar power harnessed in Haiti to preserve vaccines

UNICEF reported on May 3 that new solar powered refrigerators in Haiti have helped keep vaccines from going bad.

In much of rural Haiti, where there is no reliable form of electricity, it has been difficult to keep vaccines refrigerated. The vaccines, which range from polio to other live saving medicines for children, are needed to keep young children safe.

The old refrigerators were powered by gas. While this avoided power outage issues, the gas had to be delivered, which could cause problems if the gas supply was depleted.

"The old refrigerators used gas, and sometimes the vaccines would go bad because we ran out of gas," Ms. Beliard, a community health worker in a rural area of Haiti, said. "The solar refrigerator is very important, because it means the vaccines are always available. We always have vaccines available for children."

UNICEF installed a solar-powered refrigerator at a nearby health center. It is just one of the 153 solar refrigerators that UNICEF plans to distribute to different parts of Haiti.

"The vaccines are very important because they protect my children against polio, measles and other diseases," Ms. Veneuse, a mother in Haiti, said. "I always get my children vaccinated."