Govt Develops Digital System for Newborns During Vaccination

  • The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) announced on Tuesday, February 7, that it had developed a digital system that used a combination of fingerprint and voice recognition to identify newborn babies and caregivers during vaccination.

    The institute stated that the digitised system, developed in partnership with a Japanese corporation known as NEC, would ease the process of vaccination and enhance proper management of data.

    Moreover, KEMRI stated that the system would also be used by caregivers to schedule vaccinations, therefore, promoting the implementation of appropriate vaccinations.

    Kemri Employees carrying out Research in their Laboratories

    Kemri Employees carrying out Research in their Laboratories


    “KEMRI and partners have developed a system that combines fingerprint identification for newborn children and voice recognition for caregivers to confirm their identity and reliably manage vaccination histories,” KEMRI stated.

    According to NEC, the use of the biometric system, provided by the information technology and electronics corporation, will be the first used identification technology at a hospital for newborns.

    “We are excited that KEMRI together with its partners, is spearheading this study that identifies newborns using a biometric and a vaccination management system that is not only in real-time but is also expected to enable the attainment of better health outcomes and Universal Health Coverage.

    This technology marks the first time that biometric identification is being used at a hospital to identify newborn children at the time of vaccination, including those immediately after delivery,” a statement from NEC read in part. 
    In addition, the firm revealed that the system was expected to be implemented in several hospitals in the country by the end of 2023 and extend to other countries.

    By November 2022, data from over 300 caregivers and newborns had been registered through the system, and vaccination histories of over 150 newborns had been updated.

    “Demonstration tests that network among multiple hospitals will begin, aiming for full-scale introduction throughout Kenya by the end of 2023,” NEC added.

    NIC noted that because of the use of voice recognition by the system, medical institutions would be able to introduce the technology without the interference of normal procedures.

    “Because voice recognition can be done almost instantly, this system can reduce the burden on caregivers with little to no change to existing processes,” NEC explained.

    Implementation of the digital system was part of the health reforms made by the government to achieve Universal Health Care, including the recent plans to convert the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) from an occupational scheme model to a social insurance scheme detailed in the 2023 Draft Budget Policy Statement.

    The Budget Policy Statement further noted plans by the government to deploy an integrated state-of-the-art health information system that would enable Kenyans to own and control access to their health records. 

    Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) located in Nairobi.

    Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) located in Nairobi.


Jay Ndungu

Jay is a computer scientist and journalist with a passion for the intersection of technology and society. He has a background in computer science, developing a deep understanding of the technical aspects of the industry, including programming languages and software development methodologies. Currently, He writes for Nairobi Times, covering a wide range of topics including technology, politics, sports, and entertainment. With his unique combination of technical knowledge and journalistic experience, Jay brings a unique perspective to the stories he covers, able to explain complex technical concepts in an easy-to-understand manner. His work is dedicated to bridge the gap between technology and society, and to make people more aware of the potential of technology to make the world a better place.

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