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GSK teams up with Vodafone for mHealth initiative

Aims to use mobile technology to improve childhood vaccination rates in Mozambique

GSK has partnered with telecoms giant Vodafone on a project that will see mobile technology employed to help increase childhood vaccination rates in Mozambique.

Its initial focus will be on a one-year pilot project, supported by Save the Children and run in collaboration with the Mozambique Ministry of Health.

This aims to see if mobile technology can increase vaccination coverage of children in the country by five to ten per cent.

Africa has the second largest, and fastest growing, number of mobile connects in the world, and SMS offers a simple and relatively cheap way for people in the region to communicate.

GSK and Vodafone will provide healthcare workers with smartphones to improve record keeping and enable better management of vaccine stock, while mothers will be encouraged via SMS to take up vaccination services.

In doing so GSK hopes to create a sustainable and scalable model that could be replicated across Africa.

GSK's CEO Sir Andrew Witty said: “Innovative technologies – whether mobile devices, medicines or vaccines – are helping to transform global health.

“Organisations such as UNICEF and GAVI have played a key role in making vaccines much more accessible in Africa but barriers still exist which stop children from benefitting from basic immunisation.“

The pharma company's new partnership has, he added, the potential to deliver life-saving vaccines to tens of thousands more children in Mozambique.

The pilot will use mobile technology to address barriers to increased take-up of vaccines in Mozambique in three key ways: 

• Mothers and carers will be registered on a Mozambique Ministry of Health database and alerted by SMS about the availability, and importance, of childhood vaccinations. They will then be able to schedule vaccination appointments by SMS and receive notifications of past and future vaccinations to ensure children complete the full schedule and become fully immunised

• Health workers will be provided with smartphones with software allowing them to contact mothers, view and record vaccination histories, schedule vaccinations and report on follow-up visits

• Healthcare facilities will be prompted to regularly report vaccination stock levels by SMS to assist supply chain management

Up to 100 clinics will be involved in the pilot and the technology uses will be available to carers across any mobile network and can be used to increase take-up of any selected vaccine.

Vittorio Colao, CEO of Vodafone, said: “Vodafone is committed to investing in mobile technologies that can transform healthcare in both developed and emerging markets.

“These partnerships have the potential to save millions of children's lives in some of the world's poorest countries and we are delighted to support this critically important endeavour.”

11th December 2012

From: Healthcare

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