Abu Dhabi’s Hope Consortium has successfully delivered more than 210 million Covid-19 vaccine doses to over 60 countries, top officials leading the initiative said.
A collaboration of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), Etihad Cargo, Abu Dhabi Ports Group, Rafed, SkyCell and Maqta Gateway was launched in November 2020 with an aim to distribute vaccines to the world.
Reflecting on its first year of operations, officials said the initiative has made “significant progress” in achieving mass and equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines in all corners the world.
Dr Jamal Mohammed Al Kaabi, undersecretary, DoH, noted: “It’s great to witness Abu Dhabi make such a significant global impact in one year. But what truly gives me hope is the belief that we are helping countries to build the logistical capabilities and infrastructure, to build robust healthcare systems for their health and well-being.”
Within its first year in operation, the Consortium has built partnerships with more than 12 freight forwarding and logistics leaders to diversify its network and expand its global reach.
Robert Sutton, head of logistics cluster, Abu Dhabi Ports Group, said: “One year ago, we began our journey with a single purpose: to deliver hope. The world was not ready but together we are, working together to face and overcome the challenges in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, paving the road towards equitable access to vaccines.”
The Consortium by partnering with Via Medica International Healthcare successfully launched its first in-country vaccination support programme in Africa.
“We earned recognition for our contribution to the global mission to distribute vaccines. But our work has only just begun. The mission to vaccinate the world is still underway,” Sutton added.
Recently, the Consortium and United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) entered into an agreement to support delivery of 65 ultra-cold freezers used for storing vaccines to 20 African nations.
Martin Drew, senior vice-president, sales and cargo, Etihad Cargo, said work continues on establishing “strong networks and partnerships” across countries in need of vaccines.
“What gives me hope are the great results we have delivered today using Etihad Cargo’s capabilities delivering temperature sensitive pharma around the world. And as we continue expanding the reach of this initiative, I am confident that our sustained efforts will see us through to the end of this pandemic.”
The Consortium has a state-of-the-art warehouse facility hub in Abu Dhabi that can accommodate more than 120 million vaccines at temperatures of +8 degrees to -30 degrees at any time, and hosts the UAE’s largest ‘Freezer Farm,’ which can store over 11 million vaccine doses requiring the ultra-cold temperature of -70 degrees.
Rashid Al Hosani, commercial director, Maqta Gateway, AD Ports Group, said the supply chain solution is scalable. “It can accommodate an increase in the supply chain, the movement of vaccines. Definitely, now we have reached around 200 million vaccines. So, it’s growing at a very fast pace. And you have to have that scalable infrastructure to accommodate the changes in growth.”
According to Our World in Data, 58.6 per cent of the world population has received at least one dose of vaccine.
Ahmed Al Bastaki, chief strategy officer, Rafed, underlined: “Throughout this year, we have ensured operational and logistical synergies between the partners of the Hope Consortium and helped build a world-class vaccine storage and distribution system. Working towards this important mission to serve humanity in the fight against Covid-19 gives me hope.”
Richard Ettl, CEO, Sky Cell, pointed out that work is underway on building the next-generation container fleet in Abu Dhabi.
“For Sky Cell this is the opportunity to put our experience, knowledge and technology to work, to make sure that there is no loss in the vaccine supply chain. For the Hope Consortium, we are building up a dedicated container fleet with a service centre located in Abu Dhabi to make sure this consortium has dedicated resources to bring vaccines from the world to the world.”
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