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Childhood vaccination is a cost-effective public health intervention with proven positive outcomes on individual, community and global scales as some of the highest return of investment into healthcare.1 India’s vaccination programme is one of the largest in the world, covering 27 million live births per year and 100 million children under age 5 alone, but coverage is far from universal. Recent investments and improvements in India’s vaccine programme are working to improve the rates of immunised children, including the recent Mission Indradhanush.2 However, immunisation data in India is stored in complex fragmented data storage systems that have led to mismatch in resources and system-wide shortfalls. The fragmentation has been due to various innovations being developed in real time in a decentralised manner.3 With the global need for tracking immunisation data due to the COVID-19 pandemic, solutions for improving immunisation data storage are critical. There is a great deal of interest surrounding use cases for blockchain technology in development and healthcare.4 Blockchain, the technology underlying cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, can be especially useful in improving decentralised and error prone information storage.5 There has been limited use of blockchain technology in the field of healthcare data management despite the enthusiasm surrounding it,4 specifically no prior exploration of the use of blockchain technology in the national storage of healthcare data. In partnership with the Biotechnology and Research Council of India and Gates Grand Challenges India as part of the Immunisation Data: Innovating for Action programme, we explored means for improvement in digitisation of data through the use of blockchain technology.
Needs assessment of Indian immunisation data storage
Exploring the current state of immunisation data storage in India was crucial to avoid increasing further complexity. In-depth interviews with national and state level policy-makers, technological …
Contributors All persons who meet authorship criteria are listed as authors, and all authors certify that they have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for the content, including participation in the concept, design, analysis, writing or revision of the manuscript.
Funding India Grand Challenges grant (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and BIRAC, Government of India). GCI-IDIA Reference no. BT/IDIA0198/04/17.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.