GSK, Vodafone partner for vaccine project in Mozambique

GlaxoSmithKline recently partnered with telecommunications company Vodafone to increase vaccinations among children in Mozambique.

GSK announced that the partnership will seek to use mobile phone technology to create a sustainable and scalable vaccination program model that can be replicated across the continent. The spread of mobile technology across Africa has created an opportunity to address barriers that keep vaccination rates low.

The partnership will develop a year-long program aimed at children in Mozambique. It will be supported by the nonprofit Save the Children and run in collaboration with Mozambique's Ministry of Health. GSK hopes the pilot program will raise vaccination rates by an additional five to ten percent.

For the program to work, mothers and caregivers must have their cell phone numbers registered with the ministry. Those that are will receive critical notifications by SMS about the availability and importance of vaccines. Mothers can then schedule vaccine appointments by SMS, as well as receive their children's immunization schedule and records.

Healthcare workers are to be provided with smartphones and software enabling them to contact mothers, view and record vaccination and health histories, and schedule vaccinations. Healthcare facilities can use SMS to report on stock levels to enable more efficient supply chain management. Initially, 100 clinics will be included in the program. The platform will be made available across any mobile network.

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