Archive | February 2013

TED Challenge: tracking & tracing vaccines in the GAVI Alliance supply chain

I’m heading to Long Beach, California this weekend for my annual participation in the TED conference – and this year, I’m looking for help, from TED and from you.

Malawi, November 2011 – Health workers transport vaccines in vaccine carriers to keep them cool, on their way to an immunisation outreach session at a remote village in eastern Malawi (Credit: GAVI/Doune Porter/PATH/2011)

Health workers transport vaccines in cold boxes to a remote village in eastern Malawi (GAVI/Doune Porter/PATH/2011)

To do our work at the GAVI Alliance, we need to make sure that vaccines are not wasted. Vaccines are a powerful technology, but must be looked after very carefully. They have to be stored at  a certain temperature and used within a fixed period of time, or they become non-viable. I’m making this the focus of a TED Challenge, asking the smart, innovative people who make up the TED community to help us find a better way to track vaccines. That could involve existing technology like 2D barcodes or RFID tags, or there may be a whole new approach that we haven’t yet thought of.  Of course, it requires not just technology, but also appropriate hardware, systems for data transmission, and the ability to scale it up in some of the most difficult places in the world.

I want to make sure we hear all the best ideas, so I’m also asking all of you to help. Are there smart technologies that can help, or better ways to use what we already have?

Click here to read more about the TED Challenge, then post your comments or questions below.