Muqbil Ahmar
November 28, 2017

Polio free world: Using the Internet of Things (IoT) Tech for vaccine supply chains

Screen Shot 2017-11-23 at 17.05.18Polio free world: Using the Internet of Things (IoT) Tech for vaccine supply chains

The fight against polio is only as good as the efforts of vaccination: the only effective to keep the disease under control. Once infected there is no treatment. Vaccination continues to be the most effective method of preventing such infectious diseases. In fact, immunity induced through vaccination has been primarily responsible for the global eradication of smallpox as well as the restriction of other infectious diseases such as poliomeasles, and tetanus from the world.

However, a number of children continue to remain outside the ambit of immunization campaigns. This is particularly true for the Third World Countries in Asia and Africa, where the state of vaccination is not good. In fact, 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, RajasthanBihar, and AssamUttar 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.

How Technology and Big Data are helping healthcare research on AIDs, Diabetes, and Thalassemia

Vaccines rely on efficient cold supply chains

The task critically depends on a consistent supply of vaccines. Vaccines need to be stored at a recommended temperature, right from the manufacturers to mothers and children. A big challenge in immunization efforts is ensuring technology that is able to predict demand, logistics, and cold chain management. Problems in these factors can result in high vaccine wastage rates and inefficient use. Several Indian states lack an effective cold chain infrastructure. They are unable to store vaccines at optimal temperatures and lack proper vaccine delivery and management systems.

Screenshot 2017-11-23 17.00.56

IoT for vaccine delivery in Third World Countries of Asia, Africa

Vaccines travel through cold supply chainsInternet 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.”

Technology is Saving India's Children: The Internet of Things (IoT) for Vaccines

Smart IoT applications and innovations for cold chains

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 along with cloud storage 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, says Somesh Misra, VP, Deskera, a cloud software company.

Looking for Further Reading? Check out this White Paper:

The Internet of Medical Things White Paper

About the Author

Muqbil Ahmar is a writer, editorcolumnisttechnology evangelist, tech bloggerfilm critictheater activistjournalist, but basically a storyteller and blogger at heart. He writes on social issues, startups, SMEs, technology, environmenteconomy, women empowerment, and arts and culture. You can visit his blogs  and and invite bloggerswriters,  technology evangelists, and others to connect with him on Twitter @muqbil_ahmarLinkedIn and Facebook.

He is an environmentalist and the founder of


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