NEC Corporation announced the successful conclusion of fingerprint identification technology trials with newborn children from as young as 2 to 24 hours old in the Republic of Kenya. This trial is expected to help establish a reliable foundation for biometric authentication of newborn children in emerging countries.
The ability to collect and authenticate biometric information at an early age enables authorities to provide legal identity, including birth registration, for newborn children, ensures proper identification as they are discharged from the hospital, and supports the accurate management of vaccination schedules. This demonstration capitalized on continuous field research that began in 2016, resulting in an error rate of just 0.3% (*1), and was carried out in coordination with the NUITM-KEMRI Project (Nagasaki University Institute of Tropical Medicine-Kenya Medical Research Institute Project).
Currently, there are approximately 1 billion people worldwide without legal identity (*2). In addition, an estimated 5.6 million children under the age of 5, including 2.6 million newborns, lose their lives each year. Most of these deaths are considered to be from illness that can be avoided through preventative measures and treatments (*3).
In order to solve this problem, it is necessary to establish methods for registering and identifying newborn children as well as recording their medical history. This is especially important in regions where newborn children are often released from healthcare facilities in as few as 6 hours after birth. In addition to the importance of being able to verify the identity of children when they leave healthcare facilities, it is also vitally important to be able to confirm the vaccination schedules of children within 14 weeks of birth (*4).
Moreover, as children grow and mature, this identification system can assist with ensuring that children are placed in schools at the most appropriate timing, leading to the advancement of educational opportunities.
NEC’s fingerprinting technology is designed to cause minimal stress for newborn children after caregivers have provided informed consent to taking their children’s biometric data.
This initiative helps to promote the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the United Nations, particularly Goal 16, Target 16.9: By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration (*5).
Going forward, NEC aims to provide this technology for practical use within biometric authentication infrastructure and national identity systems in emerging countries throughout the world. In addition, it hopes to centralize the authentication of patients who visit public hospitals and to enable convenient access to their medical history. This will help to minimize the loss of medical information and to prevent errors in treatment due to lack of patient information. This information may also contribute to the understanding of civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) in the near future.
NEC has positioned the safety business centered on Bio-IDiom (*6) as a global-growth engine in its 2020 Mid-term Management Plan, a three-year medium-term management plan up to FY2020. NEC has also strengthened business under the NEC Safer Cities (*7) initiative. In the future, NEC will continue to focus on the Safety Business to expand its social solutions business.