October 2, 2014
On Aug. 26, JICA and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) co-hosted the seminar "Round Table on Vaccines and Innovation: What Japan Can Do" at JICA headquarters in Tokyo. It drew 52 participants from Japanese pharmaceutical manufacturers, companies dealing in vaccination equipment, universities and citizens' groups.
Though the situation surrounding vaccination has greatly improved in recent years, 1 in 7 babies born still is unable to receive necessary vaccinations and every year more than 1.5 million people die of diseases that are preventable through vaccines.
Participants pointed out that a factor impeding the expansion of vaccination is that when vaccines are developed normally in developed nations, the conditions of developing countries are not necessarily taken into consideration. Because vaccination with existing vaccines only becomes possible when there are paved roads, a stable electrical supply and sufficient medical personnel, costs required to access vaccines are an obstacle.
Topics covered at the seminar included improving developing nations' access to vaccines as a business opportunity for Japan, the need for a temperature-controlled supply chain suitable to conditions in developing countries, insufficient transportation and public safety, a shortage of capable workers, expiration dates, stability in heat and freezing conditions, easy vaccination methods that put little stress on health care practitioners and patients, and the potential of tracking-stock and information management systems that use bar codes.