Real-time transparency into vaccine supply chains
ColdTrace is a project developed by the nonprofit technology company Nexleaf Analytics that uses wireless temperature sensors, repurposed cell phones, and a notification system to track temperatures of cold storage units and alert clinic managers by SMS when temperatures begin to threaten the medicine.
According to Nexleaf in many developing countries electricity and backup power can be erratic in clinics and often times there are not enough resources available to accurately and routinely measure vaccine refrigeration temperatures. Many of the power outages in these areas happen at night or over the weekend and result in spoiled vaccine supplies that play a role in the spreading of preventable diseases in these regions.
The ColdTrace project wants to construct a temperature sensor that connects to cold boxes and refrigeration units along the supply chain, has a cost of less than $50, and can provide real-time monitoring and alerts for clinics and government agencies.
Unlike similar approaches that develop their own microcontrollers the ColdTrace project uses modified cell phones for the data collection and transmission to cut down on upfront capital costs. The data that is gathered from each device in the network is sent to a global database that can track historical vaccine distribution patterns and can then be used by clinics and health agencies to improve forecasting needs for the area over time.
Nexleaf is currently collaborating with Medic Mobile and Direct Relief to distribute ColdTrace devices to clinics in Kenya and Haiti and was the recent winner of the 2013 Vodafone wireless innovation project of the year.
More details about the project can be found by visiting: Nexleaf.org/project/real-time-transparency-vaccine-supply-chains or by watching the team give an overview of ColdTrace for the Vodafone award below.
Related: WellDone MoMo, WaterCanary
Additional: Pervasive Computing Technologies to Monitor Vaccine Cold Chains in Developing Countries (PDF), Crowdfund campaign, Vodafone winner page
Image Credits: Nexleaf Analytics