VaxTrac and Lumidigm have partnered to create a system that uses fingerprint biometrics to track vaccinations at 31 new clinics in southern Benin in Africa.
The latest version of the VaxTrac system uses fingerprints of both mother and child for 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.
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 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, enabling the health care worker to deliver appropriate care.
“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.”
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, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, includes 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.