The Pfizer Foundation is providing $2 million in grant funding for pilot programs to improve immunization coverage in Africa. Recipients include UNICEF, Save the Children, and International Rescue Committee.

The programs will focus on “last-mile” interventions to reach underserved populations living in Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia. The funding will be used to build healthcare systems within the five countries to ensure that sustainable vaccine supplies are available to children.

According to the Pfizer Foundation, the interventions include mobile platforms for vaccinations, which provide health workers with mobile phones and solar-powered tablets to register children born in a clinic area and help track vaccination schedules in real time. Short-message service systems will also be used to monitor vaccines and equipment to identify bottlenecks in the supply chain and prevent stockouts.

“Infrastructure challenges, security concerns, and capacity limitations, among others, continue to be obstacles for last-mile healthcare delivery, including getting medicines and vaccines to people who need them, when they need them,” said Susan Silbermann, president, Pfizer Vaccines. “There are still 18,000 children who die every day from vaccine-preventable diseases. These grants are designed to help address these critical ‘last-mile’ challenges and reinforce the Pfizer Foundation’s commitment to ensuring access to quality healthcare.”

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