India has the world’s biggest number of unvaccinated children despite having the largest number of births world-wide—over 26 million in a year. The country has more than 20 per cent child mortality. Though there has been improvement in the past couple of years, India has 7.4 million children without immunization. This is the largest number globally. Immunization rate is less than 50% in some of the big states like Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, and Assam. Uttar Pradesh, the most populated state and Rajasthan have rates around 30 percent, an alarming situation. India plans to immunize 27 million children every year. Around 9 million immunization sessions are held every year for infants together with 30 million pregnant women for routine immunization.
Vaccines are high-cost valuables depending on cold supply chains
The task is enormous and critically depends on a consistent supply of vaccines. For effectiveness, the vaccines need to be stored at a recommended temperature, from manufacturers to mothers and children. A big challenge in immunization efforts ensuring technology that is able to predict demand, logistics, as well as cold chain management. Problems in any of these factors can result in high wastage rates and inefficient use. Several Indian states particularly lack an effective cold chain infrastructure. They are unable to ensure storage of vaccines at optimal temperatures and lack proper delivery and management systems.
How IoT can help vaccination in India and Third World Countries of Asia and Africa
Vaccines travel through cold supply chains. Internet of Things (IoT) together with real-time monitoring can decrease wastage in vaccines through improved identification and resolution of storage and transit issues than incumbent systems. A Lux Research report investigated the return on investment (ROI) for cold supply chains in case organizations switched to IoT-based systems from the existing ones.
“There is no one-size-fits-all solution in the cold chain monitoring space and companies can implement different solutions on a case-by-case basis, depending on the value of the cargo and loss rates,” says Tiffany Huang, Lux Research Associate and lead author of the report: “Keeping It Fresh: Improving Cold Chain Outcomes with Sensor Platforms.”
Smart Internet of Things applications and solutions for managing cold chains
Smart and innovative IoT solutions include devising and designing containers embedded with sensors that provide suppliers with real-time temperature data, shock, light, and humidity. Containers have self-cooling to ensure that the environment doesn’t get too hot. Domestic shipping, carried out by trucks and trains, can be upgraded with IoT networks. This is easily implementable: vehicles can be connected with cellular networks instead of satellite data.
“IoT-based solutions have the potential to give a fillip to India’s efforts of universal immunization of children through providing smart technologies for preservation of valuable vaccines,” says Somesh Misra, VP, Deskera.