Trek Pilot Progress
While remote temperature monitoring has provided critical support for decision-making at health facilities throughout the country, until now, there has been no insight into what happened to vaccines as they were transported.
Yet studies show that as many as two-thirds of vaccines are exposed to damaging temperatures during transport, including the most dangerous to a vaccine—freezing incidents. A single freezing event can destroy thousands of dollars worth of vaccines in just one hour. By equipping Ministries of Health with visibility into a vaccine’s journey through the entire cold chain, we expect new technologies to help local leaders better secure their cold chains and protect vaccine shelf-life.
Nexleaf, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and inSupply, began a pilot program measuring the temperature fluctuations vaccines experienced during their transportation utilizing a Nexleaf remote temperature monitoring device we call Trek. Ten district councils in the Mwanza and Geita Regions were selected to conduct this revolutionary pilot in preparation for a national scale-up effort. With Trek, Tanzania will be the first with end-to-end visibility into the vaccine cold chain among low- and middle-income countries!
Usage of Trek began in May 2022; by December 2022, users had captured 164 distribution trips with Trek across both regions. The early analysis found a need for temperature monitoring during transport because 55% of trips were too warm, and 18% of trips were too cold. The pilot has also shown that the real-time alerts of temperature excursions help frontline health workers to address problems during transport, prompting them to repack vaccines or replace cold packs. Pilot participants are starting to use Trek data to make broader decisions about vaccine transport, such as planning efficient distribution routes and allocating resources accordingly. At the same time, it’s clear that introducing a new technology and process to the health system requires time, support, and expertise. The pilot will run through March 2023 to gain insight into pains and gaps during transport and ultimately resolve any issues identified. Next year, using the lessons learned from the pilot, Tanzania plans to scale up the technology nationwide with support from Nexleaf.
Nexleaf has worked with the Tanzania Ministry of Health since 2017 to protect vaccines by implementing remote temperature monitoring of cold chain equipment in health facilities and vaccine stores nationwide. Nexleaf devices monitor vaccine temperatures at all four levels of the health system.