NEC and Nagasaki University partner for global health and biometric authentication program

NEC Corporation has partnered with Nagasaki University to establish a program on global health and biometric authentication for Nagasaki University’s Graduate School of Tropical Medicine and Global Health Studies to promote research and the development of human resources for applying biometrics and other ICT to solving health problems in developing countries.

Under the program’s first initiative, field demonstrations of a biometric system will be carried out in Kuware County, Kenya, from April 2019 to May 2020, according to NEC’s announcement. The company cites United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal number 3, “to ensure the healthy lives of all people of all ages and to promote welfare,” as part of the motivation for the program. Maternal and child health and expanding immunization in developing countries are major issues, NEC says, and Nagasaki University is a national leader in those areas. The Tropical Medicine Institute has established a presence in Kenya, and is conducting field demonstration of ICT utilization and other technologies in cooperation with the Kenya Central Institute of Medicine (Kenya Medical Research Institute).

Nagasaki University and NEC plan to verify the effectiveness of biometric systems for managing maternal and child health information. Mothers who volunteer to work with the university’s Maternal and Child Health Information System (WIRE) will have fingerprints and facial images collected to enable them to maintain access health information, even without an identification card. The collected health data is expected to contribute to the planning and evaluation of health programs.

The partners will also cooperate with Kware County Medical Clinic to promote projects under the slogan “Fahamu Mama-Mtoto (To know mother and child).”

“I welcome the initiative of Nagasaki University, which has extensive knowledge in the field of global health, and NEC, which has a proven track record in resolving social issues through ICT, in carrying out joint activities to verify the effectiveness of biometric systems in the management of child and mother health information in order to improve the health problems of the Kenyan people,” says Kenya’s Ambassador to Japan, H.E. Salomon Karanja Maina. “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Nagasaki University and NEC for their contribution towards enhancement of health care not only for Kenya, but Africa as a whole.”

NEC says it is promoting its “Social Solutions Business” with the initiative, and plans to leverage its results to provide biometric solutions in Kenya and other developing countries.

Kenya is currently in the midst of a massive biometric registration project to extend universal legal identification across the country.

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