Over two million children under the age of five die every year in India and another one million or more are disabled for life due to a lack of vaccination or the administration of ineffective vaccines. One of the major factors that render vaccines ineffective is the lack of a robust cold chain infrastructure. Many developing countries have inadequate cold chains – which means that optimal temperature-control mechanisms for the transport, storage and handling of vaccines are not in place. According to a research estimate, approximately 151 million vaccines, equivalent to approximately $750 million, are lost annually due to improper refrigeration in developing countries. (Source: Visible Thinking – Duke Undergraduate research society. http://undergraduateresearch.duke.edu)
All vaccines lose potency on exposure to heat above 8°C, while some vaccines are affected when exposed to freezing temperatures. This damage is irreversible and can adversely impact anyone using such affected vaccines. It is therefore crucial that vaccines are stored at the ideal temperature range of 2-8 °C to avoid any wastage.
Godrej Appliances, one of the leading players in the home appliances industry, in partnership with UK-based Sure Chill Company, launched medical refrigerators with Sure Chill technology last year. These specialised refrigerators were designed especially to address the key need of providing precise cooling solutions for vaccines and blood, despite long power outages – common in upcountry remote areas in developing and underdeveloped countries. With holdover time of 13 days and just 2.5 hours of power requirement per day, the range was designed to handle extremities.
Taking this endeavour further, Godrej Appliances has expanded and strengthened its medical portfolio further by launching a range of 6 new models. Keeping in mind the needs of urban and peri- urban areas where power outages are infrequent, the new Lite series is designed with a holdover period of 3 days which gives sufficient time to service and fix the product in case of any downtime. The Lite series has been designed to offer 50% reduction in costs. In light of the limited budgets common to developing economies, this optimized series is expected to boost adoption of the superior Sure Chill Technology offered by Godrej Medical Refrigerators.
With the intent to further facilitate the government in its efforts towards 90% immunisation coverage – the mission adopted by Government for its Indradhanush program, Godrej Appliances has also developed an innovative standalone vaccine storage device in the form of a combined fridge freezer for remote health centres. Currently, for every ILR , the health center has to install a deep freezer , which calls for multiple machines to be serviced and maintained, and downtime on any one affects the outreach programs significantly. Godrej’s combo fridge freezer solution can also run on solar power – completely independently, and one such equipment can cater to 6 outreach programs in a week. This will give the government immense flexibility to set up more remote health facilities and boost actual immunisation coverage while its precision temperature control between 2-8°C will ensure maximum utilisation of vaccines.
Godrej Appliances has also identified blood storage as a space that needs technological innovation, as blood storage also requires maintenance of optimum temperature range of 2-6°C. Below 2°C, the blood haemolyses and transfusing heamolysed blood can cause renal failure and fatal bleeding problems and above 6°C blood is at the risk of bacterial contamination. Using the Sure chill technology, Godrej has developed innovative solutions for blood storage and will be focusing on making it available to hospitals and blood banks.
Since downtime of these machines affects the immunisation outreach programs and undermines immunisation coverage. Hence, the Godrej Smartcare service promise assumes critical importance here and we are committed to 48 hours of call closure in urban centers and 72 hours in rural centers. Backed by the assurance of 95% spares availability, wide service network and supported by longest hold over time in the product, this translates into reassuring ‘always on’ performance and no fear of vaccine wastage.
With this strong portfolio, Godrej aims to contribute to vaccine wastage efforts by 30 per cent in developing nations.
Speaking on the occasion Mr. Jamshyd Godrej, Managing Director and Chairman, Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Company Ltd. said, “Immunisation is among the most powerful and cost -effective of all health interventions. Lack of immunisation not only affects families but also the nation’s productivity and is a burden on the nation’s healthcare and social welfare system. Despite all the progress made on this front, effective immunization continues to be a major challenge globally. We believe that when it comes to immunization, the cost of wastage must not be measured in dollars but in the count of lives lost. Among the most critical of the barriers to effective immunization programs is lack of inadequate cold chain infrastructure. At Godrej, we understand that innovative mechanisms will need to be put in place to help developing countries increase immunization coverage and minimize wastage in order to further build upon the progress made so far. Godrej has always been at the forefront, consistently endeavoring to encourage initiatives promoting healthier communities. Through consistent efforts towards strengthening the medical cold chain infrastructure, Godrej aims to contribute towards 30% reduction in global vaccine wastage through its new range of medical refrigerators developed in collaboration with The SureChill Company UK.”
Mr. Peter Saunders, Chairman, The Sure Chill Company-UK, said, “We are delighted to partner with Godrej Appliances to extend the reach of the Sure Chill technology around the world. We have the potential to save millions of lives. There can be no greater motivation. Traditional cooling technologies don’t protect vaccines effectively. They either fail to sustain cooling when power is lost or expose vaccines to freezing temperatures due to over cooling, resulting in damaged ineffective vaccines and compromised immunization programmes around the world.“
The Sure Chill technology, which is already used in over 30 countries, creates a natural and internal energy store that is capable of providing a perfect, constantly chilled storage environment in areas where there is an intermittent power supply. And if there is no power at all, as if often the case in upcountry areas, the system can be teamed with solar power with exactly the same results. With upto 13 days of cooling in ambient temperatures of 43˚C with no power at all, the technology is miles ahead of existing conventional ILRs.“
Mr. Anil Verma, Executive Director and President, Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing Company Limited, said “Godrej has always been an organization with a social conscience. It started with the vision of making India self sufficient and has come a long way in this journey. Healthcare infrastructure is among key pillars of the nation’s growth and we strongly believe that public-private partnerships coupled with the right offering can help address many of the challenges that our current healthcare system faces. Our association with The Sure Chill Company UK is a strategic initiative for Godrej given the company’s focus on health care as a vertical to focus on through its diverse businesses. And like all Godrej offerings, these products are not just high on the innovation quotient but also Good and Green which will build healthier communities across the world, thus bringing alive the Godrej promise of ‘brighter living’.“
Mr. Kamal Nandi, Business Head and EVP, Godrej Appliances, added, “We have always believed that innovation can help address the toughest of challenges – cold chain infrastructure is not an exception. In partnership with The Sure Chill Company, we launched a breakthrough technology in medical refrigeration last year. Our products have been received very well in the market and have been exported to 10 other countries. The insights we gained in the last one year have helped us develop an extended portfolio with 6 new offerings this year. We have been able to adapt the technology without diluting its core benefits to suit specific storage requirements of health centres and hospitals, including a more affordable Lite series for urban and semi urban health facilities with 50% cost reduction over last year and standalone storage devices that innovatively combine fridge and freezer for remote health centers, promising to reduce investments for government. All of this comes with the assurance of Godrej Smart care service which has the largest and the most extensive network in the country. We are sure that our new range will help the business grow manifold by increasing penetration. We are planning to build manufacturing capacity for 30,000 units from the current capacity of 10,000 units over the next 2 years and hope to generate Rs 200 crore revenue from medical refrigerator portfolio by 2020.”
The new product range includes three models in the Lite series- GVR 51 Lite, GVR 75 Lite and GVR 99 Lite with vaccine storage capacity of 51.5ltrs, 75.5ltrs and 99.5ltrs respectively. With hold-over time of approximately 4-5 days, 3 days and 1-2 days respectively, the models in the Lite series are lighter, slimmer and come at 50% reduced cost. They come with an externally readable data logger which records up to 30 days’ temperature reading and offers five customizable temperature alarm settings. The price range for the Lite series is Rs 70,000- Rs 90,000. The standalone fridge freezer combination- GVR 60 FF DC has a vaccine storage capacity of 67.5 ltrs and the GVR 225 AC has a capacity of 225 ltrs. In addition, Godrej Appliances has also introduced a new model to its blood bank refrigerator series- with an increased capacity of 225 ltrs. The price of this entire range varies from Rs. 1.5 L to Rs 5 L.
This is over and above the earlier range of Godrej Medical refrigerators with Sure Chill Technology with holdover period of 13 days. All products continue to guarantee never to freeze vaccines because of the patented Sure chill technology, limit temperature variation within the cabinet to less than 1 deg C, have a built-in intelligent temperature control and energy management system, minimize thermal shock, operate on only 2.5 hours/day power at 43 deg C ambient temperature and continue to be the world’s greenest ILRs. In terms of product offering, this portfolio is the best in the market today.
About Godrej Appliances
The Godrej Group is one of the largest players in the Home Appliances space in India and has always delighted the consumer with relevant technology across a wide range of products. In 1958, Godrej was the First Indian Company to manufacture Refrigerators and has now become synonymous with the category. The company is known for delighting the consumer with innovative, relevant and green technologies. Godrej has created many milestones in the Indian appliance space – be it in the environment/energy efficiency space, including the launch of the first green AC in the world (2012), launch of the first green refrigerator in India (2001), launch of the first 5 star range of refrigerators (2008), launch of the first inverter AC in India (2005), the first refrigerator with 6 Star Performance(2012) or a pure consumer delight space like the launch of the music refrigerator, DAC (Dynamic Aqua Power Control) Technology, Tilt drum and U-Sonic technology in washing machine or Steam Microwave Ovens and Pizza/Kebab makers in Microwave Ovens. In recognition for its efforts, the brand has been conferred with many prestigious awards and honors such as the Consumer Superbrand Award (2011-12, 2013-14), ‘Voice of Consumer’ Award by Frost and Sullivan (2013, 2014), Business Superbrand (2008, 2010, 2011), ET Best Brands (2013-14), ET Promising Brand (2014-15); Consumer Superbrand (2009-10), ‘Most Innovative Company’ by Business Standard (2010), India Design Mark award for Green Balance ACs (2013) and many more. Both the manufacturing units of Godrej Appliances’ – in Shirwal and Mohali became the first and only manufacturing units in the country to be honored with the coveted Platinum Green Co certification for their efforts in green manufacturing.
Godrej’s focus on balancing consumer needs with the environmental cause has enabled the organization to redefine the technology landscape in the appliances industry – to the delight of both the consumer and the environment.
About Sure Chill
The Sure Chill Company has developed a completely new approach to refrigeration that radically improves performance and can operate without constant power for days and weeks.
Sure Chill technology is based on the scientific principle that water is at its heaviest at 4°C, which happens also to be the ideal temperature for storing vaccines, fresh food and beverages. The technology harnesses this natural phenomenon to create a constantly chilled environment within the refrigeration unit – whether there is power or not. It is so reliable that it will maintain a completely steady temperature for 10 days or more after power has been interrupted. This is achieved through the movement of dense water at 4°C, generated as the system’s ice bank interacts with warmer water circulating within the unit. Once power has been used to generate the ice bank in the first instance, the Sure Chill technology channels the supply of naturally generated 4°C water to the refrigeration compartment without the need for any further power.
This process can continue until the ice bank, the ultimate generator of the dense water, finally melts and needs to be refrozen, which can take as little as two hours. In effect, the Sure Chill system creates a natural and internal energy store that is capable of providing a perfect, constantly chilled storage environment in areas where there is an intermittent power supply. And if there is no power at all, as if often the case in regions where vaccines are most needed, then the system can be teamed with solar power with exactly the same results.
Vaccines are temperature-sensitive and must be stored at the correct temperature. They are irreversibly damaged by exposure to heat or freezing within the cold chain delivery system and once damaged they are less effective and do not protect fully from disease. Some reports say that this occurs in over 70% of vaccine shipments worldwide. Sure Chill’s technology solves this problem by providing constant reliable cooling without the need for continuous power. It is already saving lives.
The Sure Chill Company, based in Snowdonia, Wales, has attracted support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Welsh Government and this helps in the development of new applications of the innovative technology. This technology is recognized by numerous international agencies including UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI).
The Sure Chill technology is patent granted in the UK and filings have been placed and are now granting in 88 additional countries worldwide. The Company was formed in February 2003. The Chairman and major investor is UK Business Angel of the Year, Peter Saunders OBE.