GAVI and Vodafone join to increase vaccine uptake

The GAVI Alliance and mobile group Vodafone announced a partnership last week to increase childhood vaccination levels in sub-Saharan Africa using mobile technology.

United Kingdom International Development Secretary Justine Greening praised the program and said the U.K. government would back the project in an effort to increase the uptake of life-saving vaccinations.

“One thousand new mobile broadband connections are made every minute in the developing world, which means we have a tremendous opportunity to transform lives in an easily accessible way,” Greening said. “Britain is a proud partner in this innovative project from Vodafone and GAVI. Opening up healthcare to people through their mobile phones will increase the take-up of basic treatments that make a huge difference to people’s lives and livelihoods.”

The partnership will use mobile technology to alert mothers to the availability of vaccinations by text message, help health facilities in remote locations monitor vaccine stocks and enable health workers to schedule appointments and access health records through their phones.

The three-year partnership will aid GAVI in hitting its target of vaccinating an additional 250 million children and preventing four million future deaths by 2015.

As part of the GAVI Matching Fund initiative, the U.K. will match Vodafone’s contribution with a $1.5 million contribution to GAVI. The fund plans to raise $260 million for immunization by the close of 2015.

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