WASHINGTON, Jan. 16, 2015 – The European Union has selected Grameen Foundation to play a crucial role with key partners in testing an experimental vaccine for protecting at-risk populations against the deadly Ebola virus.
Grameen Foundation, an international leader in innovations to assist the poor in developing nations, will deploy mobile technology that encourages vaccination and reminds people when they need the life-saving boosters. The Mobile Technology for Community Health (MOTECH) system will also collect health data and promote awareness about the vaccine initiative, which leads to acceptance and, ultimately, effectiveness of the vaccine trials.
“We have spent years building networks that use basic mobile technology to deliver vital health information to the most vulnerable groups in Africa,” Grameen Foundation President and CEO Alex Counts said.
“We are hopeful that the work we and our many partners have done over the years might now make a valuable and sustainable contribution to putting the Ebola virus tragedy behind everyone for good,” Counts said.
The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a partnership between the European Union and European pharmaceutical companies, announced Friday it was launching the first eight projects in a 215 million-euro (250 million-dollar) initiative to develop an Ebola vaccine. The projects are part of a broader Ebola+ program.
One of those projects will focus on “compliance with vaccine regimens” in the countries most severely affected by the Ebola virus. Grameen Foundation’s innovative, open-source mobile health platform will be pivotal in making sure the message reaches those who need to receive it.
The trials will use Grameen Foundation’s MOTECH open-source mobile health platforms in studying ways to optimize the vaccine’s impact through clear, two-way communication using text and voice messages with the most vulnerable people about the danger of Ebola and the need to be vaccinated against it.
“We will use the reach of the mobile phone to get clear, accurate vaccine information to those most at risk of exposure to the Ebola virus,” said John Tippett, Grameen Foundation’s Director of Mobile Health Innovations.
“Taking advantage of the personal nature of a mobile device, we can influence attitudes toward vaccinations and ensure compliance with the vaccine regimen to stop the spread of the Ebola epidemic and prevent future outbreaks.”
Grameen Foundation will work with Janssen Pharmaceutica N.V. (one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson), the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and World Vision of Ireland to support the implementation of the compliance program.
About Grameen Foundation
Grameen Foundation is a global nonprofit organization that helps the world’s poorest people achieve their full potential by providing access to essential financial services and information on health and agriculture that can transform their lives. Founded in 1997, it delivers solutions that respond to the needs of the poor, as well as tools that help poverty-focused organizations become more effective. It focuses on initiatives that can achieve widespread impact and uses an open-source approach that makes it easy for other organizations to adopt them broadly. Nobel Laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank and the Grameen family of companies, is an inaugural member of its Board of Directors, and now serves as director emeritus. Grameen Foundation is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in the U.S., Asia, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean. For more information, please visit www.grameenfoundation.org or follow us on Twitter @GrameenFdn.
This project has received funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and EFPIA. More information is available at www.imi.europa.eu.