Gauteng-based medical refrigeration company, Zero Medical, a division of Zero Appliances, has developed their new Stat-Send® Remote Temperature Monitoring Device (RTMD), designed to ensure the safety of life-saving vaccines.

According to Executive at Zero Medical, Albert Wessels, their Stat-Send® RTMD is currently undergoing testing by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and is the “most advanced such device in the world.”

Zero Medical, which is the only WHO approved manufacturer of vaccine storage refrigerators in the Southern Hemisphere, uses Sure Chill technology to enable their fridges to keep vaccines at a temperature of between 2 and 8˚C  for 17 days without any power. Keeping the vaccines in this temperature range is essential for them to remain effective. Spoilt vaccines are not only a potential danger to patients, but they are also expensive to re-purchase and transport to the healthcare facility.

“The WHO and the Cold Chain Equipment Optimisation Platform (CCEOP), which includes UNICEF, are very concerned about the wastage of life saving vaccines around the world. A main contributor to this is the use of incorrect cold chain; if the cold chain is broken, the vaccines lose their potency. It’s as simple as that,” Wessels told eHealthNews.

“The Stat-Send® RTMD is an advanced system which monitors all the vital information relevant to the cold chain. Should a vaccine fridge, for example, go out of temperature range, the system alerts designated users through their cell phone and e-mail so that they can act quickly and minimise the potential loss of vaccines,” continued Wessels.

All of the fridge’s important information, such as the ambient temperature; compartment temperature; condenser and evaporator temperatures; relative humidity; fan speed; whether the door is open or closed; the power status; and even the GPS location of the fridge is monitored. If there’s any issue then the technical team is notified instantly so that they can sort out the problem before it has any negative consequences on the vaccines stored within the fridge.

According to Wessels, this early warning system can literally be a life-saver. “The value of the Stat-Send’s radio-frequency identification (RFID) capability lies in early warning. One of the most common problems experienced by Expanded Programme for Immunisation (EPI) Managers in the field is not just vaccines getting exposed to temperatures out of range, but the common stock-out dilemma,” said Wessels.

“If healthcare personnel don’t carry out ongoing stock management they won’t realise that they are running low. If the vials inside the fridge are RFID compatible the Stat-Send® system will warn them that stock levels are low and that they need to place an order,” continued Wessels.

Zero Medical expects their Stat-Send® RTMD to complete WHO testing in the coming months. Following that they’ll make it available on the market. To foreshadow the global requirement of having such technology implemented in vaccine fridges, Zero Medical also plans on equipping their future fridges with Stat-Send® RTMD.

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