Vodafone to Support Childhood Vaccination in Sub-Saharan Africa
Vodafone today announced two partnerships that will use mobile technology to increase childhood vaccination levels in sub-Saharan Africa. This will support the global goal to vaccinate an additional 250 million children and avert four million deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases by 2015.
The World Health Organisation has identified vaccinations as the single most cost-effective public health intervention after the provision of clean water supplies. However, more than one million children die every year from vaccine-preventable diseases and 22 million children worldwide remain unimmunised.
With access to mobile phones rapidly rising in the developing world, a significant opportunity exists for mobile technology to help healthcare providers save hundreds of thousands of children's lives by increasing the take-up of vaccinations. Effective methods include alerting mothers to the availability of vaccinations by text message, enabling health workers to access health records and schedule appointments through their phones and helping health facilities in remote locations monitor stocks to ensure that vaccinations are available when mothers and children arrive.
Vodafone has therefore formed a partnership with the GAVI Alliance which, supported by the UK Government, helps 73 of the world's poorest countries to obtain new and underused vaccines and strengthen their health system infrastructure.
The company also set up a development partnership with global healthcare provider GSK, supported by Save the Children and commencing with a one year pilot with the Mozambique Ministry of Health.
The three-year partnership between Vodafone and GAVI will explore how health ministries in GAVI-supported countries in sub-Saharan Africa can use mobile technology solutions to improve their immunisation programmes. The Vodafone-GAVI partnership is the first private sector in-kind contribution through the GAVI Matching Fund, under which the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Government have agreed to match private sector contributions to GAVI. The UK Department for International Development ("DFID") will match Vodafone's contribution of technology and services with a $1.5 million cash contribution to GAVI. The fund has raised $52.4 million to date and aims to raise $260 million for immunisation by the end of 2015.
The Vodafone and GSK partnership will establish the effectiveness of mobile technology in increasing vaccination coverage by 5 -10% and will commence with a pilot in Mozambique. Vodafone's role will include developing the technology, providing handsets to health workers and integrating the solution into the government's health IT infrastructure.
If successful, the pilot will form a basis on which to commercially scale the technology to 1,500 clinics across Mozambique and for Vodafone and GSK to extend their partnership to other developing countries.
Both partnerships will draw on Vodafone's experience of developing commercial mobile health solutions in other countries. 5,000 clinics across Tanzania use Vodafone's mobile stock management service to track malaria treatments and more than 1,800 remote community healthcare workers in South Africa are using a mobile solution to access and update patient records.