By Neo Kolane
Mohahlaula Airlines and refrigeration systems provider Sphere have announced a partnership to distribute Covid-19 vaccines to protect communities in Southern Africa.
Mohahlaula Airlines is a charter and commercial air operator headquartered in Maseru, Lesotho, that operates in both Lesotho and the SADC region.
Sphere is a Johannesburg-based CO2 refrigeration system provider that delivers future-fit, environmentally-friendly, and sustainable temperature control solutions.
Mohahlaula and Sphere are working to collaboratively develop a comprehensive Covid-19 vaccine distribution plan that will ensure that vaccines are safely and efficiently distributed using cold chain turnkey logistical solutions.
The first of the vaccines will be distributed in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho by COVAX in April 2021. Finding innovative solutions to meet the logistical challenges of delivering the vaccine in a manner that protects public health and helps to safeguard those at highest risk is at the heart of the partnership.
The ability to maintain the temperature of vaccines from the manufacturer to communities, some of which are in extremely remote and challenging highland terrains, requires careful planning and the right expertise.
Sphere CEO, Marcel Steinberg stated that Sphere is the largest CO2 refrigeration system provider in Africa and the Southern Hemisphere.
“With over 50 years’ experience in the industrial refrigeration market, our experience, reach, and expertise enable us to provide custom-built refrigeration equipment to fit at national scale any temperature band required pharmaceuticals. We look forward to a successful partnership and contribution to Lesotho’s Covid-19 vaccination drive,” Steinberg said.
The CEO of Mohahlaula Airlines, Phafane Nkotsi said that their partnership seeks to create value by ensuring efficient and effective COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Southern Africa.
“The first phase of our collaboration will be rolled out in Lesotho, Moshoeshoe 1 International Airport, Mohahlaula Airline’s home base. With the first phase of cold chain solution envisioned to be completed beginning of the first quarter of 2021. Moshoeshoe 1 International Airport will also act as a trans-shipment center for COVID-19 vaccine into the Lesotho highlands, hard to reach health centres,” he said.
“The installed cold chain solution will have a capacity of holding a minimum of 120,000 vials, in our custom-made refrigeration for our aircraft, capable of holding any Covid-19 vaccine available in the market today (from 8 degrees to -71 degrees),” Nkotsi said.