Multispectral imaging fingerprint sensors, as part of a solution created by VaxTrac, will help to stop vaccine waste at 31 new clinics in southern Benin in West Africa. The latest version of the system uses fingerprints of both mother and child for more robust identification. The use of fingerprints for vaccine tracking has already become very popular. In a preliminary assessment, the use of biometrics in the vaccination process has led to a 10-percent increase in the number of women returning to the clinics.
“The women are always asking for their baby’s fingerprints to be taken,” says Aplogan Nicephore Ange-Guy, vaccinator in Allada, Benin. “There is a growing demand for it. They say to me, ‘Take my child’s fingerprint.’ They think it’s cool.”
Without a proper and reliable means of identification, vaccine wastage rates are higher than 50 percent in some of the most challenging African locales. VaxTrac solves this problem with a biometric vaccination registry that is operated and managed in the field with low-cost mobile devices. Adult and child patients are identified in the registry with fingerprint sensors from Lumidigm. Returning patients can pull up their vaccination records with the touch of a finger, allowing the healthcare worker to deliver appropriate care.
The expansion in Benin, generously funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, includes full-scale, comprehensive training of new health workers and an updated version of the system that features reporting mechanisms for health workers and VaxTrac partners at the Ministry of Health, as well as a dashboard and other customized information features available at the clinic level.
"The new expansion is really exciting!” says Meredith Baker, project manager, VaxTrac. “It's amazing to work with our Benin staff to grow what started as just a notebook and a fingerprint scanner into a vast network of highly trained health workers who are engaged with our project every day and are proud to say that they have a VaxTrac system at their clinic."