GlaxoSmithKline has formed a partnership with Vodafone to use mobile technology to help vaccinate more children against common infectious diseases in Africa.
Initially, the project will focus on Mozambique for a one-year pilot project examining whether mobile technology solutions can help encourage mothers to take up vaccination services, support health workers, and enable better management of vaccine stock. According to a press statement, the pilot will seek to boost vaccination in the country by 5–10%.
“Innovative technologies – whether mobile devices, medicines or vaccines – are helping to transform global health. Organizations such as UNICEF and GAVI have played a key role in making vaccines much more accessible in Africa but barriers still exist which stop children from benefiting from basic immunization,” Sir Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK, said in a statement.
Mothers and caregivers will be registered on a database and alerted by SMS about the availability of vaccinations. Appointments can also be scheduled by SMS and notifications will help to ensure that children complete the full schedule of vaccinations. Health workers will be given smartphones with software that allows them to contact mothers, view and record vaccination histories, schedule vaccinations and report on follow-up visits.
For supply-chain management, healthcare facilities will be prompted to report on vaccine stock levels by SMS.
The project will be supported by the Save the Children organization and the Mozambique Ministry of Health. Up to 100 clinics will be included and the project will be independently tested to prove its impact, effectiveness and cost benefits.
Witty added, “This new partnership combines GSK’s expertise, knowledge and resources with those of Vodafone with the potential to deliver life-saving vaccines to tens of thousands more children in Mozambique. Our hope is that together we will create a sustainable and scalable model which could ultimately be replicated to help more children live healthy lives across developing countries.”