Mobile biometrics support Benin vaccine programme
A recent investment of $695,431 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will provide new technology and ongoing support for the expansion—both geographic and functional—of mobile vaccine registry systems in health facilities in Benin, West Africa.
This investment will enable new health centers to receive the resources and training necessary to effectively integrate the VaxTrac system into their vaccination program with the goal of improving record-keeping practices, reducing vaccine waste, and improving schedule adherence, especially for children under the age of five.
The VaxTrac system is a suite of data collection and analysis tools tailored specifically for immunization programs in developing countries. It uses a technology portfolio comprised of laptops, tablets and mobile phones to collect data and fingerprint scanners to accurately identify patients. This serves to overcome the primary driver of the current inefficiency in the vaccine delivery system: a lack of information.
In addition to the geographic expansion, VaxTrac will also lead an effort in Benin to re-evaluate the vaccine information management system from a more holistic perspective, integrating the previously segregated functions of health records, population statistics, stock management, and cold chain performance monitoring. This activity will also identify the broad array of stakeholders throughout the vaccination process and how they interact with system data. Underlying all of these activities is the motivation that technology can—when thoughtfully applied in combination with a thorough understanding of the unique user requirements of community health workers—greatly facilitate efficiency and effectiveness improvements in the vaccine delivery system.
This award is the result of continued collaboration among VaxTrac, the Benin Ministry of Health, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization since early 2012 to implement and support clinic-level vaccine data collection technology in 30 health facilities throughout several districts across the coastal region of Benin. With this new phase of the project, VaxTrac will roll out the latest version of its system to approximately 120 health facilities, fully saturating an administrative division roughly equivalent to that of a US state.