Telecommunications giant Vodacom Group and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-Nepad) have joined forces to deploy a mobile technology platform that manages vaccination appointments and stock availability.
Developed by Vodacom Group member Mezzanine, the mVacciNation digital toolbox will be offered to African Union member States to accelerate the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out.
This is the first project within the public-private partnership formed between Vodacom Group and AUDA-Nepad to boost Africa’s digital transformation and build resilience for the post-Covid world.
“It is a critical milestone in the roll-out of Covid-19 vaccination on the continent,” said AUDA-Nepad CEO Dr Ibrahim Mayaki.
The initiative specifically responded to the AU vaccine strategy objective of supporting the widespread distribution and management of vaccines with an African-developed solution, he continued.
“MVacciNation address two critical priorities for African health systems. Firstly, to ensure people get the right vaccine at the right place and time and, secondly, to provide real-time information for health workers on available vaccines and medical equipment.”
South Africa is the first country that has started to invest in and use mVacciNation for Covid-19, with the Department of Health having used mVacciNation to register health workers on its Covid-19 Electronic Vaccine Data System. Nearly 279 000 vaccinations have been administered to date.
MVacciNation has also been successfully deployed in Mozambique, Tanzania and Nigeria to manage infant inoculations.
“Making our mVacciNation platform available to all African countries will significantly enhance the continent’s digital health infrastructure for the long-term,” added Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub, noting that the company’s contribution will improve the capability of African countries during the pandemic and beyond for vaccine distribution, management and surveillance, even in resource-constrained settings.
Mayaki commented that the response to the Covid-19 crisis had significantly accelerated the adoption of frontier technologies.
“Africa's booming digital sector offers great opportunities for public-private partnerships to help build resilience in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis and respond to critical continental priorities.”
The mobile platform mVacciNation has a supply chain component that provides real-time information for health workers of all available vaccines and medical equipment, including 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 and countries can link mVacciNation into their choice of temperature controlled supply chain, drug safety and vaccination travel passport platforms.
MVacciNation updates the digital records of each vaccine recipient and, should a further dose be required, automatically schedules and sends a follow-up date through SMS. Once vaccination is completed, the individual will receive electronic certification.
AUDA-Nepad will facilitate government engagement to link mVacciNation to policy and practice for accelerated roll-out of the solution to African Union member States.
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.