Vodacom, AUDA-NEPAD to roll out digital tech for Covid-19 vaccinations in Africa

AFRICA – South African mobile telecommunication company Vodacom Group, part of Vodafone Group, will work with AUDA-NEPAD to build digital infrastructure to manage vaccinations across up to 55 countries, following successful deployments in South Africa – to manage Covid-19 vaccinations – and in Mozambique, Tanzania, and Nigeria – to manage infant inoculations.

According to a statement released to the media, the roll-out of mVacciNation, developed by Mezzanine, a member of the Vodacom Group, is the first project in a public-private partnership that has been formed between Vodacom Group and AUDA-NEPAD “to boost Africa’s digital transformation and build resilience for the post-Covid world.”

Shameel Joosub, CEO of Vodacom Group, said: “Making our mVacciNation platform available to all African countries will significantly enhance the continent’s digital health infrastructure for the long-term. Our contribution will improve the capability of African countries in this pandemic and beyond for vaccine distribution, management and surveillance, even in resource-constrained settings.”

“The response to the Covid-19 crisis has significantly accelerated the adoption of frontier technologies. Africa’s booming digital sector offers great opportunities for public-private partnerships to help build resilience in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis and respond to critical continental priorities. As the development agency for the African Union, we act as a channel to connect innovators and governments to roll-out and localise these solutions,” Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of AUDA-NEPAD, said.

According to information supplied, mVacciNation has two core components and a control tower, to ensure people get the right vaccine, at the right place and time.

A supply chain component provides real-time information for health workers of all available vaccines and medical equipment (like syringes and supplies) nationally.

“Africa’s booming digital sector offers great opportunities for public-private partnerships to help build resilience in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis and respond to critical continental priorities”

Dr Ibrahim Mayaki – CEO, AUDA-NEPAD

A beneficiary management component allows individuals to register on the platform and assigns them to vaccine service points on a specific day and time. A ‘control tower’ allows for the orchestration of stock to specific vaccination centres.

Each time someone is vaccinated their digital record is updated and, if a further dose is required, mVacciNation automatically schedules and sends a follow-up date via SMS.

Once vaccination is completed, the individual will receive electronic certification. Countries can link mVacciNation into their choice of temperature controlled supply chain (cold-chain), drug safety (pharmacovigilance) and vaccination travel passport platforms.

AUDA-NEPAD, with a continental mandate and reach, will facilitate government engagement to link mVacciNation to policy and practice for accelerated roll-out of the solution to African Union Member States.

The companies add that South Africa is the first country that has started to utilise mVacciNation for Covid-19 vaccines through the National Department of Health’s EVDS.

Health workers are in the first wave to be vaccinated in that country. Nearly 279,000 Covid-19 vaccinations have been completed to date.

“Once installed, the mVacciNation platform will remain in place to help countries better manage future pandemics and other large-scale health programmes such as infant inoculations.

mVacciNation has been utilised by the Ministries of Health in Tanzania, Mozambique, and Nigeria as they have sought to increase immunisation rates in children.

Over 1.3 million vaccinations have been recorded in those countries of which 262,000 were children registered and vaccinated supported by mVacciNation,” read the statement.

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