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Although it may seem counterintuitive to implement emerging technologies like blockchain in the least resourced countries of the world, this is not the case. In our relatively recent past, technologies like the mobile phone and the smartphones have allowed low-income countries to skip fixed-lines and leapfrog to the next technology. Mobile health has transformed healthcare and strengthened health systems in developing countries. 

 

Today, blockchain technology stands to do the same, to revolutionize the health sector in ways it has not been done before. 

 

One way blockchain can disrupt healthcare and improve the functioning of health system in developing countries is through its application to the supply chain of vaccines. Significant failure of current health systems in developing countries is due to inadequate supply chains of vaccines.

 

To address this problem, the HIT Foundation has developed a blockchain technology that tackles key supply chain challenges. Lack of access to vaccines at the point of care is a key problem faced by supply chains in developing countries. Tackling lack of access to vaccines is a complex issue in low-income countries.

 

Blockchain technology has the potential to strengthen the supply chain of vaccines in developing countries through an infrastructure that it’s immutable and transparent.  Blockchain allows all supply chain stakeholder, vaccine distributors and health workers, to record and monitor vaccine movements along the supply chain to ensure appropriate levels on vaccines.

 

The HIT Foundation is planning to collaborate on a groundbreaking project with the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute to improve the supply chain of rabies post-exposure prohpylaxis (PEP) in Mali and Ivory Coast. The project aims to develop a sustainable solution that can significantly reduce human rabies death in the study areas. 

 

Through the HI-Trust App, built on blockchain technology, the rabies vaccine supply chain can be strengthened and secured by automated alerts if vaccine stock drops below a threshold stock at each level of the supply chain. This triggers a vaccine order at the next higher level. The goal is to improve transparency in vaccine management, avoid stock-outs, minimize vaccine loss and reduce PEP and social costs of rabies. 

 

A more efficient supply chain can greatly contribute towards the goal of zero cases of human rabies in Mali and Ivory Coast.

 

Fátima Sanz de León | Chief Project Officer | HIT Foundation | https://hit.foundationemail: fa@hit.foundation |

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