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Jul 29, 2019   |   Blog Post

INFUSE 2019: Harnessing innovation to accelerate urban immunisation coverage

The 2019 INFUSE Pacesetters with Gavi CEO Dr Seth Berkley. Credit: Gavi/2019/Isaac Griberg.

By VillageReach

Originally posted on Gavi.org.

Geneva, 26 July 2019 – A chatbot technology powered by artificial intelligence (AI), an analytics platform using crowd-sourced data and a new approach to transgender community engagement have all been chosen to be 2019’s INFUSE Pacesetters.

Gavi launched INFUSE – Innovation for Uptake, Scale and Equity in Immunisation – at the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos to help improve vaccine delivery systems by connecting high-impact innovations with the countries that need them the most.

This year, Gavi sought innovations uniquely positioned to address the challenges involved in assuring that children living in urban areas are reached with immunisation and health services.

At a two-day workshop in Barcelona, an expert panel of Gavi-country representatives, private sector leaders and global health experts selected three INFUSE Pacesetters from more than 200 innovations:

  • VillageReach – Praekelt.org: Uses a chatbot technology powered by AI and machine learning to increase access to information about immunisation services.
  • Premise: Provides an analytics platform using crowd-sourced data to help governments improve and optimise immunisation services.
  • ZMQ Development: Leverages the power of storytelling to boost immunisation rates in the slums of New Delhi.

During the workshop, 10 short-listed innovators pitched their innovations to an expert panel, which in return helped them to refine their innovations to match country-level needs. The innovators also had the opportunity to pitch to a group of talented and enthusiastic adolescents, offering a contemporary view on innovation.

The 2019 INFUSE Pacesetters will join the growing INFUSE community, working towards a future where all children have access to life-saving vaccines, no matter where they live.


VillageReach and Praekelt.org

VillageReach and Praekelt.org use Turn, a human-operated chatbot technology, to help mobile phone users in DRC, Mozambique and Malawi get information on immunisation services. The technology can also be used to track vaccine supplies and monitor disease outbreaks. Aided by AI, machine learning and natural language processing, operators can respond to health enquiries efficiently, consistently and accurately.


Premise provides an analytics platform using crowd-sourced data to help governments improve and optimise immunisation services. Through a mobile app, data contributors collect the data, which is uploaded to Premise’s cloud platform. Data accuracy is secured through task structuring, machine learning and monetary incentives to ensure task completion. Currently, the platform is used to monitor vaccination sessions and coverage in Nigeria.

ZMQ Development

ZMQ Development leverages the power of storytelling to boost immunisation rates in the slums of New Delhi by using a cadre of informal storytellers, equipped with a mobile app designed to register newborns, track, remind and recall them for immunisation and share digital Talking Comics for healthy behaviors. Traditionally belonging to the transgender community, these storytellers play an important role in the celebration of new-born babies – and are thus often the first non-family member to meet the newborn.


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