Lumidigm®, part of HID Global®, today announced that its 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, West Africa. The latest version of the VaxTrac 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% increase in the number of women returning to the clinics, insuring that thousands more children will get the critical vaccines they need.
“The women are always asking for their baby’s fingerprints to be taken,” affirms 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% 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 by low-cost mobile devices. Adult and child patients are identified in the registry with fingerprint sensors from Lumidigm, whose biometric technology was specifically developed to overcome the fingerprint capture problems that conventional imaging systems experience in less-than-ideal conditions. Returning patients can pull up their vaccination records with the touch of a finger, allowing the healthcare worker to deliver appropriate care.
Multispectral imaging is a sophisticated technology based on the use of multiple spectrums of light and advanced optical techniques to extract unique fingerprint characteristics from both the surface and subsurface of the skin. That subsurface capability is important because the fingerprint ridges seen on the surface of the finger have their foundation beneath the surface of the skin, in the capillary beds and other sub-dermal structures. VaxTrac is able to leverage this technology to authenticate even very young patients with small fingerprint features.
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 VaxTrac 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,” adds Meredith Baker, project manager with 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.”
Those attending the connect:ID conference and exhibit in Washington D.C. March 17-19 will be able to hear VaxTrac Executive Director Mark Thomas describe the life-saving work that his organization is providing and see a demo of the VaxTrac biometric vaccine tracking solution at Lumidigm booth #201.