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Ethiopia uses Mastercard platform to launch biometric digital health pass

Ethiopia uses Mastercard platform to launch biometric digital health pass

The Ethiopia Ministry of Health, Mastercard, Gavi, and JSI (John Snow, Inc) have partnered on a digital, portable health pass that incorporates biometrics.

The country will implement Mastercard’s Wellness Pass within Ethiopia’s health information system to promote efficiency in healthcare tracking and offline portability of health records in the most marginalized communities.

“Lack of healthcare data portability has a definite impact on the levels of service utilisation and health outcomes among people in different geographical areas and socio-economic groups. Therefore, it is very important to solve this great challenge, and it will take a collective response by the public and private sectors to reach the necessary scale,” explains Dr. Lia Tadesse from Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health.

The Wellness Pass is a contactless card that digitizes health records like COVID-19 vaccination status and can be used both online and offline. It utilizes tokenized biometrics to verify service delivery and adhere to vaccination cycles.

It is the second implementation of the Wellness Pass in Africa, after Mauritania, which was identified only as a West African country when Gavi and Mastercard partnered with Trust Stamp on the launch two years ago.

“The digitization of vaccination records through the Mastercard Wellness Pass enables us to reach and to continue to care for patients with vital health services such as immunization. Innovative partnerships such as this help us to improve access to care so that everyone receives the essential vaccines they need to survive and thrive,” says Marie-Ange Saraka-Yao, Gavi’s managing director of resource mobilization, private sector partnerships and innovative finance.

Gavi took part in an academic paper that concluded biometrics could produce a fair, effective, and efficient COVID vaccine distribution and produce clearer health data in parts of the world where IDs and government registration are limited. Gavi and Arm commenced a biometric-based national vaccination program in Ghana using contactless technology from Simprints.

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