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Open Access Short Report

Program on immunization and cold chain monitoring: the status in eight health districts in Cameroon

Jérôme Ateudjieu1467, Bruno Kenfack15, Blaise Wakam Nkontchou2 and Maurice Demanou36*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Dschang, Cameroon, PO Box 067, Dschang, Cameroon

2 Public Health Laboratory Unit, Regional Hospital of Bafoussam, Ministry of Public Health, PO Box 980, Bafoussam, Cameroon

3 Arbovirus and Haemorragic Fever Virus laboratory and WHO National Reference Laboratory for yellow fever and measles, Centre Pasteur Cameroon (member of RIIP), PO Box 1274, Yaoundé, Cameroon

4 Division of Health Operations Research, Ministry of Public Health, Cameroon, PO Box 33490, Yaoundé, Cameroon

5 Department of Mother and Child, Dschang District Hospital, PO Box 43, Dschang, Cameroon

6 Cameroon National Expert Committee on Adverse Events Following Immunization, Yaoundé, Cameroon

7 Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (associated Institute of the University of Basel), Socin str. 57, P. O. Box, 4002, Basel, Switzerland

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BMC Research Notes 2013, 6:101  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-6-101

Published: 16 March 2013

Abstract

Background

Cold chain monitoring is a precondition to ensure immunization quality, efficacy and safety. In Cameroon, the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) has National Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that describes the vaccines, the cold chain system and equipment, its use and recommended procedures to control and monitor the temperatures and the cold chain. This study was conducted to assess the status of cold chain in eight health districts in Cameroon.

Findings

The study was carried out in eight health districts out of fifty with poor immunization coverage rate. Data were collected using a validated form by observation and consultation of related documents. District Health Services (DHS) and four Integrated. Health Centers (IHC) randomly selected were targeted per health district. Forty health facilities were included. Twenty eight (70.0%) had at least one functional refrigerator for EPI activities. The power supply was reported to be permanent in 7 (20.6%) out of 34. (85.0%) health facilities with access to power supply. The temperature monitoring chart was pasted on 27 (96.4%) of the cold chain equipment. On 16 (59.3%) of these charts, the temperature was recorded twice daily as recommended. Seven (25.9%) of 27 refrigerators assessed had temperature out of the recommended range of 2 to 8°C. Almost 23.30% of health centers did not received any supervision on cold chain monitoring during a vaccination campaign.

Conclusion

This study documents failure of the cold chain maintenance and questions the efficacy and safety of vaccines administered during EPI activities in Cameroun. These findings indicate that appropriate actions are needed to ensure monitoring of EPI cold chain in the country.

Keywords:
Cold chain; EPI; Monitoring; Health districts; Vaccination campaign