Biometric fingerprint sensors help track vaccination patients in developing countries

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Biometric fingerprint sensors developed by recently acquired ASSA ABLOY company Lumidigm are enabling patients in Kenya, Uganda, Benin and Zambia to be identified quickly and reliably to track their vaccination history and stop vaccine waste at 321 clinics across Africa.

Without proper and reliable means to identify which patients have received inoculations, vaccine wastage rates can exceed 50 percent in some African clinics. Now, however, patients returning to clinics in Kenya, Uganda, Benin and Zambia can easily access their vaccination records by simply touching a Lumidigm biometric sensor to identify themselves and bring up their inoculation history, which is stored on a mobile-phone-based vaccination registry. This then enables the health-care worker to administer the appropriate care to the correct patient.

Lumidigm’s biometric fingerprint sensors use sophisticated multispectral imaging technology, which is based on the use of multiple spectrums of light and advanced optical techniques to extract unique fingerprint characteristics from both the surface and subsurface of the skin. The technology has been specifically developed to overcome the problems of capturing fingerprints when using conventional imaging systems.

The multispectral imaging fingerprint sensors are part of a mobile vaccine registry system aimed at improving record-keeping practices at medical facilities. The registry has been created by VaxTrac, a US non-profit organization whose goal is to improve immunization around the globe through the use of innovative technology.

“With our VaxTrac system leveraging Lumidigm fingerprint sensors, we have been able to improve immunization tracking which allows us to reduce waste so that we can vaccinate more people and save lives,” asserts Mark Thomas, executive director of VaxTrac, a non-profit organization supported by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among others. “We started evaluating Lumidigm sensors in 2012. Since the skin of children, especially young children, can be very malleable, we knew from experience that conventional biometric technologies that need a finger pressed against the device do not work. The ability that Lumidigm offers to pull fingerprint images from deeper layers produces images less susceptible to distortion and allows us to track vaccinations accurately.”

US-based biometric company Lumidigm was acquired by ASSA ABLOY in February and is part of HID Global, an ASSA ABLOY Group brand. The acquisition has enabled HID Global to incorporate multispectral imaging biometrics to its authentication solutions for government, banking and enterprise.

Lumidigm was founded in 2001 and is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.