India has the world’s biggest number of un-vaccinated children, despite having the largest number of births world-wide—over 26 million in a year. The country has more than 20 per cent child mortality rate. Though there has been improvement in the past couple of years, India has 7.4 million children without immunization. This is the largest number globally. Immunization rate is less than 50% in some of the big states like Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, and Assam. Uttar Pradesh, the most populated state and Rajasthan have rates around 30 percent, an alarming situation. India plans to immunize 27 million children every year. Around 9 million immunization sessions are held every year for infants together with 30 million pregnant women for routine immunization.
The task is enormous and critically depends on a consistent supply of vaccines. For effectiveness, the vaccines need to be stored at a recommended temperature, from manufacturers to mothers and children. A big challenge in immunization efforts is ensuring technology that is able to predict demand, logistics, as well as cold chain management. Problems in any of these factors can result in high vaccine wastage rates and inefficient use. Several Indian states particularly lack an effective cold chain infrastructure. They are unable to ensure storage of vaccines at optimal temperatures and lack proper vaccine delivery and management systems.
Vaccines travel through cold supply chains. Internet of Things (IoT) together with real-time monitoring can decrease wastage in vaccines through improved identification and resolution of storage and transit issues than incumbent systems. A Lux Research report investigated the return on investment (ROI) for cold supply chains in case organizations switched to IoT-based systems from the existing ones.
“There is no one-size-fits-all solution in the cold chain monitoring space and companies can implement different solutions on a case-by-case basis, depending on the value of the cargo and loss rates,” says Tiffany Huang, Lux Research Associate and lead author of the report: “Keeping It Fresh: Improving Cold Chain Outcomes with Sensor Platforms.”
Smart and innovative IoT solutions include devising and designing containers embedded with sensors that provide suppliers with real-time temperature data, shock, light, and humidity. Containers have self-cooling to ensure that the environment doesn’t get too hot. Domestic shipping, carried out by trucks and trains, can be upgraded with IoT networks. This is easily implementable: vehicles can be connected with cellular networks instead of satellite data.
Technology such as the Internet of Things can help in putting together real-time monitoring systems as well as connected platforms to integrate and deploy sensors and track different parameters and make logistics safer and more efficient. Advances in linking cellular and satellite connectivity with geographically spread warehouses and distribution centers as well as hosting the data on the Cloud can ensure round-the-clock availability and analytical insights leading to more optimum utilization.
Muqbil Ahmar is a writer, editor, columnist, technology evangelist, tech blogger, film critic, theater activist, journalist, but basically a storyteller and blogger at heart. He writes on social issues, startups, SMEs, technology, environment, economy, women empowerment, and arts and culture. You can visit his blogs https://muqbilahmarwordpress.wordpress.com/ and http://muqbilahmar.blogspot.in/ and invite bloggers, writers, technology evangelists, and others to connect with him on Twitter @muqbil_ahmar, LinkedIn and Facebook.
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