CHICAGO, Nov. 16, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- VaxTrac announced today that it has received a US$100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will support an innovative global health research project conducted by Mark Thomas, Executive Director, titled "VaxTrac Pilot Program 1 Narnaul, India."
VaxTrac's project is one of 65 grants announced by the Gates Foundation in the fifth funding round of Grand Challenges Explorations, an initiative to help scientists around the world explore bold and largely unproven ways to improve health in developing countries. The grants were provided to scientists in 16 countries on 5 continents.
Every year 2.5 million children die from diseases that could have been easily prevented with the proper delivery of safe and affordable vaccines. In some regions as much as 50% of vaccines purchased never reach the children in need. This is caused by the poor vaccine distribution network and the ineffective tracking and reporting system.
VaxTrac employs low-cost netbook computers outfitted with fingerprint scanners. When a child is immunized, their fingerprints are scanned and a key representing their biometric information is stored in a database. On subsequent visits, the child's finger serves as the key to their immunization record. VaxTrac helps control waste in vaccine distribution by dramatically reducing the incidence of redundant vaccinations associated with lost paper vaccine cards.
"We needed a system that would permanently link each child to their immunization record," says Heath Gross, VaxTrac Founder. "I considered a number of biometric solutions but in the end the one that made the most sense was fingerprints."
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