Beyond Wireless has been contracted to supply the cold chain monitoring technology for an innovative immunisation program in Senegal as part of project Optimize, a collaboration between the World Health Organization (WHO) and PATH, an international non-profit organisation that aims to enable communities worldwide to break longstanding cycles of poor health through developing sustainable, culturally relevant solutions.
Maintaining the cold chain in remote regions in Africa is extremely tricky. Power supply is often problematic, infrastructure is limited and access is difficult. While the Expanded Programme on Immunization in Senegal has been successful in increasing vaccine coverage, the strained supply chain has reached saturation point. WHO, PATH and the Senegal Ministry of Health are working together to identify vaccine supply system technologies and interventions that can be tested and piloted in the immediate future and prepare for the challenges predicted in the next 10 to 15 years.
Beyond Wireless offers a versatile, remote machine-to-machine (m2m) monitoring and control platform that forms part of the project Optimize pilot intervention. Using the local cellular networks, Beyond Wireless is able to provide a secure web-based system that will allow the Senegal’s Ministry of Health to manage and monitor the cold chain from any location.
The Beyond Wireless Remote Terminal Units will be connected to the 14 solar-powered refrigeration units where the vaccines will be stored in a ‘moving warehouse’ in Saint Louis, Senegal. The Beyond Wireless m2m platform will be used to monitor the temperature of these units, along with the temperature of 15 vaccine refrigerators at various vaccination centres in the region.
Included in the Beyond Wireless service is the monitoring of incoming solar radiation on the photovoltaic solar panels that power the fridges, the energy consumption of the refrigerators, battery voltage, the refrigerator and ambient temperatures and the reliability of the mains power.
Ian Lester, CEO of Beyond Wireless, explains that a technician sitting anywhere will be able to log into the system and view real-time data from each refrigerator, as well as historical reports. Should the power fail or the temperature fluctuate outside of allowed parameters, an alarm is activated, notifying designated people via SMS and e-mail and escalating the alarm if it remains unresolved for a set time frame.
“This not only ensures proper management of product temperatures, but also provides a transparency across the supply chain,” says Lester. “Because our system makes use of the local cellular networks, it is extremely well placed to service remote areas of Senegal, where traditional monitoring solutions are not viable.”
He adds that Beyond Wireless is extremely proud to be part of this project Optimize pilot initiative. “We are excited to be part of something like this where our technology will be helping to develop health solutions for Africa and having a positive impact on people’s lives.”
Modibo Dicko, project Optimize coordinator at WHO, notes that Beyond Wireless was selected as the monitoring service provider because of the versatility of the company’s technology offerings and its responsiveness to the unique requirements of the project.
“Beyond Wireless was the only company to have the right mix of technologies necessary to cover all the needs we expressed for the Regional Vaccine Store Saint Louis and for the 15 solar refrigerators spread in rural and very remote health posts across two different districts of Senegal,” he says. “Having one single company supplying all the devices and running the system is very important for the reliability of the system. That aspect was crucial for us.”
Benefits to the region include a single integrated health supply chain in Senegal with a modern management information system for all and a supply chain for vaccines, drugs, and other health products that is information driven, distribution based and streamlined from the centre to the periphery.
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