Softbox donates thermal covers to enable pharma delivery to Africa

By Rachelle Harry

Temperature-controlled packaging firm Softbox has donated thermal covers to help facilitate the delivery of medicines to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The medicines, which were sent by the charity International Health Partners (IHP), were covered with Softbox’s ‘Silverskin’ thermally insulating pallet covers.

Softbox said the shipments of essential health packs each included around 800 donated treatments of antibiotics, painkillers and other basic primary health medicines.

The first shipment, which contained 24 essential health packs, went to IHP’s partner International Medical Corps in Goma; the second shipment, which contained 18 packs, went to the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, established by Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr Denis Mukwege to treat survivors of sexual violence.

Colleen Harrisson-Dodds, director of logistics at IHP, explained: “We do our best to ensure all products reach their destination in the same condition we’d expect in the UK’s pharmacies.

“The medicines must be kept below 25 degrees Celsius, and Silverskin thermal covers help enable us to do that. When cargo changes planes or is unloaded, pallets might be left on the tarmac in the hot sun. Softbox Silverskin thermal covers reflect the heat and make sure the medicines don’t get too hot.”

She added: “With uncertainties unleashed by Covid-19, such as scarcer flights and more complex logistics, such protection has been vital.”

Marissa Pledger, project manager for Panzi Hospital and Foundations, said: “In regular times it is difficult for us get the medicines we need, but during Covid-19, with border closures and the decrease in flights, all supplies in Eastern Congo — from medical supplies to regular food — are significantly diminished. These packs have allowed us to keep our pharmacy pretty well stocked during this time.”

In 2019, Softbox also donated temperature-control packaging systems to IHP for them to send temperature sensitive chemotherapy medicines to children with cancer in Tanzania.

Since the start of this year, IHP has sent more than 4m treatments from the UK to vulnerable people without access to healthcare.

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