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Hope Consortium has revealed that it will use blockchain technology to store and supply temperature-sensitive Covid-19 vaccines and help monitor shipments from the Abu Dhabi hub to hospitals across the world.
The Hope Consortium is a group of partners tasked with delivering Covid-19 vaccines globally. The group will leverage blockchain technology—a public electronic ledger—to handle logistic issues that threaten the safety and prompt distribution of vaccines. The digital record is time-stamped, so vaccine producers and delivery managers will be able to control the logistical process. Using blockchain technology will also convince doctors that the vaccines they receive have been maintained at the right temperature throughout the process.
The Chief Executive of Maqta Gateway (the shipment-tracking operator for Abu Dhabi Ports) Dr. Noura AI Dhaheri, believes that technology should be mandatory to enable health practitioners to overcome challenges associated with rolling out vaccines early enough. Speaking at a virtual conference organized by the Hope Consortium, she commended the use of blockchain technology in the healthcare sector.
“We have managed the blockchain by using it for tracking containers in our existing supply chain. These technologies are both scalable and flexible. So, they are suitable for the vaccine program. I am proud to know that we have blockchain technology, but it is not the only way, as we have some areas that are still paper-based. Our expertise is about integration, and that is not about using one source of technology over another.”
Unfortunately, delivery supply chains have become indispensable during the pandemic. Beyond the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines for global recovery, there will be additional medical supplies, vaccines for other immunization programs, and the distribution of personal protective items. The International Air Transport Association already estimated that about 8,000 large aircraft would be required to transport vaccine doses around the world. And doing that safely will be one of the biggest challenges ever faced by the global air cargo industry.
A Swiss firm known as SkyCell will provide temperature-controlled hybrid containers to the Hope Consortium to help deliver vaccines to hospitals and clinics. The co-founder and CEO of SkyCell, Richard Etti, confirmed this in a statement today:
“Our job is to protect the packaging onwards to the distribution site, all the way to the doctors and then the patient’s arm. Temperature is very important in Africa and the Middle East, and Asia where there are huge populations in need of vaccines. Adaptability is the biggest challenge for this kind of mass distribution program, and we have never been pressured to roll out a vaccine this quickly before. But the faster we can distribute them, the faster we will bring Covid-19 under control.”
In all, the Hope Consortium aims to deliver billions of Covid-19 vaccine doses around the world by the end of the year. The program is currently run by the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, Etihad Cargo, Abu Dhabi Ports Company, Rafed, part of ADQ, and SkyCell.