Abu Dhabi, 11 December 2018 – Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), through the KfW Development Bank, announced at Gavi’s high-level 2018 mid-term review conference in Abu Dhabi, UAE, that they will partner to explore the application of blockchain technology to Gavi’s cash support and supply chain management systems.
Before a vaccine can protect a child, immunisation programmes involve complex planning and procedures. Outdated vaccine supply and distribution systems can delay and limit the impact that vaccines have on people’s health. BMZ, KfW and Gavi recognise that blockchain technology could radically transform health systems by reducing wastage and creating trust amongst development partners, funders and countries.
“Blockchain technology could help us understand in real-time all the steps taken while a vaccine is being delivered,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “This technology has the potential to increase efficiency and reduce costs for developing countries but, most importantly, it could save lives.”
Starting in 2019, the joint project will focus on exploring practical areas of application for this technology in the immunisation space to, for example, effectively track funds and vaccines.
“Effective use of funds are at the centre of attention and the control needs for risk mitigation which come with it are huge”, said Harriet Ludwig, the German Board Member at Gavi from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. “The new blockchain technology could significantly improve transparency and accountability of allocated funds and commodities along the supply chain.”
Blockchain technology is a way of creating tamper-proof databases by storing data on several decentralised servers simultaneously. When a new entry is made in the database, an alphanumeric code (“block”) is generated, based on the code of the last entry – this way a "blockchain" is created in which all previous transactions are recorded. Before new entries are stored, all servers involved must confirm that the blockchain is intact, that the database has not been manipulated.
The German Development Bank KfW has long been exploring how blockchain technology could benefit progress in developing countries. It developed TruBudget, a prototype for a blockchain-based open-sourced solution that allows users to set up, coordinate and monitor the compliance of a defined sequence of tasks in the management of projects and programs.
“Blockchain solutions such as TruBudget could benefit immunisation programmes by streamlining the budget workflow and by making it visible to all involved,” said Piet Kleffmann, Head of TruBudget at KfW. “Assessing strategic and operational fit of blockchain in Gavi-supported immunisation programmes will not only allow for a complete understanding of when, how and by whom funds are being used, but also could systemise the communication among all actors.”
The partnership will commence with an assessment of the potential and feasibility of blockchain-based initiatives to support Gavi’s mission. It will inform Gavi, BMZ, KFW and Gavi-supported countries on the opportunities and relevance of the application of blockchain. KfW is currently developing further blockchain solutions, in particular TruSupply, a potential adaptation of TruBudget that could serve as a supply chain management tool.
Gavi’s mid-term review, held in Abu Dhabi on 10-11 December 2018 is a high-level conference celebrating Gavi’s progress and impact in the world’s poorest countries. By the end of 2018, Gavi will have contributed to the immunisation of 700 million people and the prevention of more than 10 million future deaths. This has contributed to an acceleration in the decline of global under-five mortality rates and brought wider impact beyond immunisation.
As well as reviewing progress made since the last Gavi replenishment in Berlin in 2015, this high-level conference is an opportunity to shape Gavi’s future and help overcome the challenges preventing children from receiving the full course of WHO-recommended vaccines. Immunisation is a cost effective, high impact intervention that is core to primary health care and provides a robust platform to deliver better health for all.
Notes to editors
About Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership that helps vaccinate half the world’s children against some of the world’s deadliest diseases. Since its inception in 2000, Gavi has helped to immunise a whole generation – over 760 million children – and prevented more than 13 million deaths, helping to halve child mortality in 73 developing countries. Gavi also plays a key role in improving global health security by supporting health systems as well as funding global stockpiles for Ebola, cholera, meningitis and yellow fever vaccines. After two decades of progress, Gavi is now focused on protecting the next generation and reaching the unvaccinated children still being left behind, employing innovative finance and the latest technology – from drones to biometrics – to save millions more lives, prevent outbreaks before they can spread and help countries on the road to self-sufficiency. Learn more at www.gavi.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
The Vaccine Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private sector partners. View the full list of donor governments and other leading organizations that fund Gavi’s work here.