Jahongir Mirzakarimov, vaccine warehouse manager, Uzbekistan
Jahongir Mirzakarimov joined the Sanitary-Epidemiological Centre in the Fergana Region, one of Uzbekistan’s most remote areas, in 1980. “Time flies,” he says. “I have worked as a vaccine warehouse manager for almost 40 years and it has never occurred to me to do any other work.”
For vaccines to work effectively, it is crucial that they are kept at a certain temperature at all times prior to administration. Depending on the type of vaccine, some are sensitive to freezing, some to heat and others to light. The process of maintaining quality and potency of vaccines by protecting them from temperature extremes is referred to as cold chain management.
As a cold chain specialist, Mr Mirzakarimov explains: “I think of vaccine safety 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Every morning, I start my day by checking the refrigerators. When I wake up and go to sleep, I always ask myself the same questions: whether the refrigerators are working, whether the electricity is on or if it has been cut off”.