While countries across the globe are continuing to fight the spread of COVID-19, much of the focus in recent moths has been vaccine rollouts. In this respect, those within the African continent have been falling behind their global counterparts, especially as an effective vaccine rollout is about more than simply securing the necessary doses. On top of this, having the correct infrastructure in place is essential, which is why the Vodacom Group announced a recent partnership with the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD).
To that end the Vodacom Group will be working with the AUDA-NEPAD to build digital infrastructure to manage vaccinations across up to 55 countries.
This follows recent rollouts on the continent, including deployments in South Africa to manage vaccinations for frontline healthcare workers, as well as in Mozambique, Tanzania and Nigeria to handle infant inoculations.
The infrastructure will come in the form of mVacciNation, which was developed by Mezzanine, a member of the Vodacom Group. This platform has two core components and a control tower, to ensure people get the right vaccine, at the right place and time, according to the company.
“A supply chain component provides real-time information for health workers of all available vaccines and medical equipment (like syringes and supplies) nationally. A beneficiary management component allows individuals to register on the platform and assigns them to vaccine service points on a specific day and time. A ‘control tower’ allows for the orchestration of stock to specific vaccination centres,” explains Vodacom in a press release sent to Hypertext.
“Each time someone is vaccinated their digital record is updated and, if a further dose is required, mVacciNation automatically schedules and sends a follow-up date via SMS. Once vaccination is completed, the individual will receive electronic certification. Countries can link mVacciNation into their choice of temperature controlled supply chain (cold-chain), drug safety (pharmacovigilance) and vaccination travel passport platforms,” it adds.
This will therefore give AUDA-NEPAD the ability to facilitate government engagement by linking to the mVacciNation, adding the policy and practice elements needed for accelerated rollout of the solution to AU member states.
“Vodacom has been at the forefront of helping governments where we operate to curb the spread of Covid-19. Making our mVacciNation platform available to all African countries will significantly enhance the continent’s digital health infrastructure for the long-term. Our contribution will improve the capability of African countries in this pandemic and beyond for vaccine distribution, management and surveillance, even in resource-constrained settings,” adds Shameel Joosub, CEO of the Vodacom Group.
“Once installed, the mVacciNation platform will remain in place to help countries better manage future pandemics and other large-scale health programmes such as infant inoculations. mVacciNation has been utilised by the Ministries of Health in Tanzania, Mozambique, and Nigeria as they have sought to increase immunisation rates in children. Over 1.3 million vaccinations have been recorded in those countries of which 262,000 were children registered and vaccinated supported by mVacciNation,” the announcement ends.
With SA’s own vaccine rollout stalling somewhat and falling behind initial targets for specific phases, hopefully solutions like Vodacom’s mVacciNation can assist where needed to ramp up efforts.