Four companies will receive Gavi support to help scale emerging digital identification technologies in developing countries

Geneva, 31 July 2018 – Digital health cards, biometric records, text message birth alerts and a mobile digital identity platform that can work entirely offline have all been chosen to be this year’s INFUSE Pacesetters by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Gavi launched INFUSE (Innovation for Uptake, Scale and Equity in Immunisation) at the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos to help improve vaccine delivery systems by connecting high-impact innovations with the countries that need them most. This year, Gavi sought to identify proven technologies that could accelerate and improve immunisation coverage and delivery by improving the formal identity, registration and verification of children in developing countries.

“We are currently in the middle of a global identity crisis: tens of millions of children – especially those living in most remote, impoverished communities – have no formal record of their existence,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “That represents an enormous impediment to Gavi’s mission of ensuring that every child worldwide receives the essential vaccines they need to survive and thrive. This year’s INFUSE Pacesetters are on the cutting edge of technologies that might help us overcome that challenge.”

At a two-day workshop this month in San Francisco, a hub for disruptive technology and innovation, Gavi selected the INFUSE Pacesetters from more than 200 innovations from around the world. They include:

  • Element, Inc: An AI-powered, software-only solution for biometric recognition that runs offline on mobile devices.
  • Ona Open Smart Register Platform (OpenSRP): A digital health card technology allowing frontline health workers to electronically register and track health services.
  • iCivil Africa: A mobile solution that sends the details of every new-born baby’s birth to a government health worker via coded SMS.
  • Simprints: A biometric innovation that solves challenges to immunisation coverage by linking children to health records through their fingerprints.

“We are thrilled to receive this recognition,” said Rebecca Distler, Director of Global Health Initiatives at Element. “It’s a validation of hard work alongside our partners to create the first biometric platform capable of following a person from birth to old age. Support from INFUSE will allow us to explore how mobile delivery of biometric ID can transform the way we deliver life-saving vaccines – by meeting people where they are, on the devices already in their hands.”

During the workshop, 11 short-listed organizations had the opportunity to pitch their innovations to a review panel of private sector leaders, donor government representatives, global health experts and previous INFUSE Pacesetters. The collaborative workshop was designed to give participants tools and resources to navigate the vaccine ecosystem and respond to country-level needs. Innovators also exchanged feedback on accelerating their ideas, de-risking their business models and building an evidence base for scale.

Speaking at the workshop, Bobby Pittman, Managing Director of Kupanda Capital noted, “What’s unique about INFUSE is that it’s a platform for innovators to learn about challenges that are familiar to them, and gain exposure to a diverse set of solutions. Many of the workshop participants will go back home with different ideas than they came with, and that fresh perspective is immensely valuable.”

2018 INFUSE Pacesetters
2018 INFUSE Pacesetters, from left to right, Matt Berg, Ona; Clement Kaiser, iCivil Africa; C. Montague Hermann,Element Inc.; Rebecca Distler, Element, Inc.; Christine Kim, Simprints; Toby Norman, Simprints. Credit: Gavi/2018/Andrew Pau

The four Pacesetters will join an INFUSE community of influential leaders in business, health and government working towards a future where all children have access to lifesaving vaccines no matter where they live. A future in which every child has a digitally stored health record that gives them access to the essential services to build a prosperous life.

“Being part of the INFUSE community is going to help us in two really big ways,” said Toby Norman, CEO of Simprints. “The first is learning from our fellow health innovators who are working on different solutions across the immunisation value chain. The second is getting a better understanding of where the vaccine market and trends are going, and learning how can we not only solve the problems of today, but also meet the challenges of tomorrow.”

About the 2018 INFUSE Pacesetters

Element, Inc is a software-only solution for biometric recognition that can run offline, on any mobile device, with no specialized hardware required. Its multi-modal platform is deployed in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Tanzania, with additional country launches in development. For more information, contact Rebecca Distler at

Ona operates an Open Smart Register Platform (OpenSRP) digital health card technology, allowing frontline health workers to electronically register and track health services. It is currently implementing in Indonesia, Pakistan, Zambia, and Kenya. For more information, contact Matt Berg at

iCivil Africa is a mobile solution allowing successively, declaration, registration and delivery of birth certificates from newborns’ identification/digital authentication bubble bracelets and using encrypted SMS to transmit information. It is currently operating in Burkina Faso. For more information, contact Clement Kaiser at

Simprints is a biometrics solution that aims to solve challenges to immunisation coverage by linking children to health records through their fingerprints or their mother’s. It is currently implementing in Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Kenya, Somalia, Malawi, and Zambia. For more information, contact Christine Kim at

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