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22 December 2012 | Anna Reynolds & Adam Leach
Telecoms company Vodafone is to provide mobile technology and resources to improve the supply of vaccinations to African children.
In a three-year partnership with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), it will look at how child immunisation programmes in sub-Saharan Africa can be improved by using mobile technology.
Vodafone and GAVI have each invested $1.5 million (£923,000) into the partnership to explore how mobile technology can make the supply chain more efficient. One of the key strategies of the approach will be to use mobile phones to improve communication lines between health workers, vaccination stockists and patients.
The first stage of the programme will be a pilot in Mozambique that will draw largely on expertise gained in Tanzania where 5,000 clinics are using a Vodafone mobile-based stock management system to record supply levels and manage deliveries.
Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao said: “[We are] committed to investing in mobile technologies that can transform healthcare in both developed and emerging markets. These partnerships have the potential to save millions of children’s lives in some of the world’s poorest countries and we are delighted to support this critically important endeavour.”
The Department for International Development is a member of the GAVI Fund. UK Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening said: “1,000 new mobile broadband connections are made every minute in the developing world, which means we have a tremendous opportunity to transform lives in an easily accessible way.”
Vodafone is now the eighth member of the GAVI Matching Fund, which has secured more than $55 million (£34 million) in private sector gifts and donor matches. This latest move will support GAVI’s goal to vaccinate 250 million children and prevent four million deaths by 2015.