Nagasaki University, NEC establish program on global biometric authentication

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Nagasaki University and NEC Corporation have established a program on global health & biometric authentication with Nagasaki University’s Graduate School of Tropical Medicine and Global Health Studies.

The aim of this course is to research and develop human resources related to the utilization of ICT, including biometrics, to solve health problems in developing countries. The program’s first initiative consists of field demonstrations of a biometric system in Kuware County, Kenya, from April 2019 to March 2020.

The United Nations established 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 with the aim of eradicating poverty and realizing a sustainable society based on the principle of “leave no one behind.” Goal No.3 of the SDG’s is “to ensure the healthy lives of all people of all ages and to promote welfare.” This includes health problems not only in emerging countries but also in developed countries, and is called global health.

The promotion of maternal and child health and the expansion of immunization in developing countries have become major issues, and activities to solve these challenges are being carried out internationally. In Japan, Nagasaki University plays a leadership role in these activities. The university’s Tropical Medicine Institute has established a base in Kenya, and together with the Kenya Central Institute of Medicine (Kenya Medical Research Institute), the university has been conducting field demonstrations, including the utilization of ICT.

Nagasaki University and NEC began to collaborate in the field of global health with the introduction of NEC’s automated fingerprint Identification system (AFIS) in 2017.

As part of the activities of this program, Nagasaki University and NEC will verify the effectiveness of a biometric system in the management of child and mother health information, which is important for understanding the health status of local residents. The program will acquire fingerprint and facial images of mothers who volunteer to collaborate with the university’s Maternal and Child Health Information System (WIRE).

This will enable identification by biometrics, even when identification cards are lost or missing, and will enable the maintenance of health and medical information, such as birth data, medical history, treatment history, and immunization status. This information can be used to understand the actual condition of local residents and contribute to the planning and evaluation of health measures. The biometric identification system uses NEC’s fingerprint authentication technology, which has the world’s No.1 matching accuracy.

Under the slogan “Fahamu Mama-Mtoto (To know mother and child),” Nagasaki University and NEC will promote projects in cooperation with members of the Kware County Medical Clinic, centered on the Nagasaki University Institute of Tropical Medicine.

The philosophy of Nagasaki University is to contribute to the harmonious development of society by fostering a rich spirit and creating science that supports peace and collaboration. Based on the university’s outstanding track record in tropical medicine and other fields, it aims to become a global health education and research center that contributes to better health throughout the world.

NEC is promoting its “Social Solutions Business” on a global scale to create social value in the form of safety, security, efficiency and equality. Leveraging the results of these activities, the company aims to contribute to the resolution of global health issues and expand its business by providing biometric solutions to Kenya and other emerging countries.

Salomon Karanja Maina, Ambassador of Kenya in Japan, said, “I welcome the initiative of Nagasaki University, which has extensive knowledge in the field of global health, and NEC, which has a proven track record in resolving social issues through ICT, in carrying out joint activities to verify the effectiveness of biometric systems in the management of child and mother health information in order to improve the health problems of the Kenyan people. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Nagasaki University and NEC for their contribution towards enhancement of health care not only for Kenya, but Africa as a whole.”