Background: The success of immunization depends highly on the level of cold chain maintenance. The aim of the study was to assess the condition of cold chain equipment, practices adopted for cold chain maintenance and knowledge of the health care personnel.
Materials and Methods: It was a cross-sectional study conducted in 15 PHCs of Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar Districts. Cold chain equipment were observed with regards to their condition, along with the practices adopted by vaccinators for cold chain maintenance. A pre-designed and pre-tested questionnaire was used to interview the vaccinators regarding their knowledge and awareness regarding cold chain practices, management and handling. Simple proportions were calculated.
Results: Ice lined refrigerators and deep freezers were available in all PHCs. Dial thermometer was present in all the centres. Cold boxes, frozen packs and automated voltage stabilizers were available in 14(93.3%) centres. Improper vaccine storage was observed in 2 (13.3%) centres. Majority of medical officers & persons who are looking after cold chain had knowledge and correct practices in fields like ideal equipment, vaccine requiring diluents but only 10 (66.6%) medical officers had correct practice of defrosting the deep freezers & knowledge about temperature of deep freezer.Conclusion: The availability of equipment is near universal. Improper vaccine storage practices and poor knowledge in some fields of cold chain management may adversely affect the quality of administered vaccine. Relevant training for those handling the cold chain is recommended.