Lima, Peru, 21 February 2014 (PAHO/WHO) — A new center for cold vaccine storage was inaugurated today by Peruvian First Lady Nadine Heredia and Minister of Health Midori De Habich, together with World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Carissa F. Etienne. The new center is housed at the East Lima Health Department (DISA IV) in the Peruvian capital.

Heredia noted that maintenance of the vaccine cold chain is an essential part of Peru's efforts to guarantee vaccination, especially for children.

"Vaccination is a national effort, and ensuring that the population is immunized against diseases is one of the main responsibilities of the Ministry of Health," said De Habich, adding that the cold chain ensures that vaccines are available throughout the country.

De Habich said the new center will ensure safe storage of vaccines and in crisis situations will serve as the main storage site for Lima. DISA Director Luis Fuentes also participated in the inauguration of the new center.

Meeting with health promoters

Chan, Etienne and Peruvian officials also participated in an information fair on prevention of cancer and tuberculosis at the Plaza de Armas of El Agustino, a district of some 180,000 inhabitants in eastern Lima. They also met with a group of health promoters who received recognition for their work.

 Other participants in the activity included Mayor of El Agustino Victor Salcedo, PAHO/WHO Representative Fernando Leanes, staff from DISA IV, and staff of PAHO/WHO's country office in Lima.