It will soon be possible to accurately identify and monitor vaccination coverage for children under 24 months old, thanks to a new technology using fingerprints, voice, and face recognition.
The Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) is leading the trials for the technology which has been deployed at the Kinango Sub-County Hospital in Kwale County.
Kemri, NEC Corporation of Japan and Nagasaki University, announced the trials on the biometric-based vaccination management system for newborns in Kenya, projecting full rollout by end of the year.
Acting Director General of Kemri Prof Sam Kariuki described the initial results of the study’s clinical trials at the Kinango Sub-County hospital as “very encouraging”.
“We are excited that Kemri together with its partners is spearheading this thrilling innovation. I am happy to announce that this tool will be validated by Kemri researchers in partnership with Kinango Sub-County Hospital in Kwale, NEC Corporation and Nagasaki University,” he added.
He said besides being real-time, the system is also expected to support policy and action toward the attainment of better health outcomes and Univeral Health Coverage (UHC).
Once fully deployed, the system is expected to expand the coverage of vaccinations for children under 24 months old through accurate identification methods for mothers and children.
“The digital system will effectively and seamlessly manage vaccination history and scheduling of infants using fingerprint identification for newborn children and voice recognition for caregivers,” Prof Kariuki explained.
The technology marks the first time that biometric identification is being used at a hospital to identify newborn children at the time of vaccination, including those immediately after delivery.
As of November 2022, data from more than 300 caregivers and newborns had been registered, including the vaccination histories of more than 150 newborns.
Prof Miriam Were, the first Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize Laureate, said demonstration tests that network among multiple hospitals will begin, aiming for countrywide introduction by the end of 2023.
“I expect this vaccination management system will expand the coverage of vaccinations for children under 24 months through accurate identification methods for mothers and children.”