Lumidigm’s multispectral fingerprint sensors and Fulcrum Biometrics’ devices are helping stop vaccine waste for millions of unvaccinated African citizens. The prior vaccine delivery system was plagued by ineffective tracking and reporting, leading to millions of young children not being properly vaccinated.
It is estimated that some 2.5 million children born this year will die before the age of five. Lumidigm is hoping to turn the tide with the help of VaxTrac, a non-profit organization that is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “With our VaxTrac system leveraging Lumidigm fingerprint sensors, we have been able to improve immunization tracking which enables us to reduce waste so that we can vaccinate more people and save lives,” says Mark Thomas, executive director of VaxTrac.
The vaccination delivery model in many parts of Africa relies on a large staff of health care workers serving overwhelmingly large and remote areas. Without vaccination records to consult, many patients are unnecessarily re-immunized, others are missed altogether and a limited supply of vaccine is wasted.
Lumidigm’s multispectral imaging is designed to overcome the fingerprint capture problems that traditional imaging systems have in adverse conditions. By using multiple spectrums of light and advanced optical techniques, Lumidigm sensors can extract unique fingerprint characteristics from both the surface and subsurface of the skin.
The subsurface capability is vital 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.
“Since the skin of children, especially young children, can be very malleable, we knew from experience that conventional biometric technologies that need a finger pressed against the device do not work,” says Thomas. “The ability that Lumidigm offers to pull fingerprint images from deeper layers produces images less susceptible to distortion and allows us to track vaccinations accurately.”
The biometric vaccine registry also enables real-time reporting to streamline supply-chain management and further reduce waste. Lumidigm’s fingerprint sensors made their debut on the African continent in March, 2013. Since that time, units have been shipped to Kenya, Uganda and Benin with the largest deployment located in Zambia.