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WFP accelerator selects biometrics, digital ID integrators for pandemic preparedness

WFP accelerator selects biometrics, digital ID integrators for pandemic preparedness
 

A World Food Programme accelerator scheme for digital health startups aimed at better pandemic preparedness has selected one that integrates medical records with national digital identification in Ghana, another for government workflow automation and Simprints, which will work on biometric identification for vaccine delivery, according to a WFP post on Medium.

In 2021, the WFP Innovation Accelerator and BMZ Digilab (from Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in collaboration with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the German Development Bank KfW, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) launched the Digital Health Innovation Acceleration Programme (DHIAP).

Its first stage is the ‘Open Challenge’ to scale digital innovations that can advance pandemic preparedness as well as support vaccine rollout in the current COVID-19 pandemic. The ‘Open’ part refers to a call for solutions based on open standards, open-source code or open data.

Nearly 200 applicants from 48 countries entered. Eight were selected for the WFP Innovation Bootcamp of which three were selected for the WFP Sprint Programme. This six-to-twelve-month acceleration program with up to US$250,000 in equity-free funding provides coaching and mentoring.

UK-based biometrics developer Simprints is one of the three taking part in the sprint to develop and test safe and ethical solutions to verify vaccine delivery.

“Thrilled that Simprints is partnering with World Food Programme’s digital health accelerator. WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, and a pioneer in digital technology to ensure health and aid reaches the most vulnerable,” wrote Simprints CEO Toby Norman in a LinkedIn post.

“Together we’ll be working on a design sprint behind tools for safe patient ID. With nearly a billion people globally lacking foundational identity, we need opensource, ethical, and inclusive technology with privacy at its core in the fight against poverty and disease.”

The Cambridge University spin-off recently won its largest ever grant and is building its team.

MedTrack, which strives for ‘heath records for all,’ allows Ghanaians with the national biometric ID, the Ghana Card, create a secure folder on the card for accessing medical records.

It hopes to work on developing its pilot of a cloud-based electronic health record system that integrates with the Ghana Card, overcoming the current fragmented landscape for records.

The third sprinter is OpenFn, a digital public good (DPG) that provides integrations for workflow automation for governments and NGOs. Their approach would allow secure sharing of data during outbreaks, managing supply chains and allowing workflow automation.

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