Data visualization for last-mile vaccine distribution


Image courtesy of Nexleaf Analytics

Collaborating to advance vaccine distribution

To support life-saving vaccine distribution in low-to-middle-income countries, a team of Autodesk pro bono consulting employees worked with Nexleaf Analytics to develop a data visualization dashboard.

Close-up, over-the-shoulder shot of a woman holding a cellphone in her left hand, standing next to another person holding a Nexleaf device in their left hand. The cellphone screen shows health the Nexleaf app, with a line graph showing real-time data.

Image courtesy of Nexleaf Analytics

Data and technology to improve global health

Nexleaf Analytics is a US-based nonprofit that uses data and technology to drive improved health outcomes in low-to-middle-income countries, where an estimated 55% of cold chain equipment is poor or non-functioning. Keeping consistent temperatures across the supply chain of warehouses, trucks, refrigerators, and clinics—known as the “vaccine cold chain”—is essential to ensure vaccines remain potent and work.

Two hands holding multiple vaccine vials above the circular opening of a Nexleaf refrigerator unit.

Image courtesy of Nexleaf Analytics

Reaching last-mile communities

An estimated 75% of vaccines are exposed to harmful temperatures before reaching their destination, and 1 in 5 children worldwide lack access to basic vaccines they need. Nexleaf’s ColdTrace sensors gather real-time data to notify health workers via SMS when a refrigerator is too hot or too cold, while informing ministries of health about how to allocate resources and develop vaccination distribution strategies.

To maximize the value of ColdTrace data, Nexleaf looked to the Autodesk Foundation for pro bono technical expertise to support the creation of a centralized tool that allows countries to see how their vaccine refrigerators are performing compared to each other and other countries.


Over-the-shoulder view of a medical professional holding a Nexleaf device and inputting data into an HP laptop on a desk.

Image courtesy of Nexleaf Analytics

Using data visualization to improve vaccine distribution

A pro bono team of seven Autodesk employees developed data visualizations with Nexleaf for a tool called the Intelligent Maintenance Planning Tool (IMPT). IMPT is being created in partnership with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, giving global stakeholders a real-time look at performance trends in vaccine cold chains across the world. IMPT allows low-income countries with smaller stockpiles of equipment and fewer resources to access valuable industry- and region-wide trends they might not otherwise have, so they can learn and make smart investments to improve overall vaccine distribution efforts.

Headshot image of Nithya Ramanathan, Nexleaf Analytics CEO & Co-Founder

“Working with Autodesk pro bono consultants has been fantastic. The team developed visualizations for a key data platform designed to improve cold chain performance in low- and middle-income countries. Autodesk’s pro bono support helped Nexleaf and our partner Gavi, which will scale the platform to make the entire vaccine system stronger.”

– Nithya Ramanathan, CEO & Co-Founder, Nexleaf Analytics

Making data actionable

Autodesk pro bono consultant Deborshi Goswami, a senior data scientist in San Francisco, presented the tool to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, with sophisticated data insights and a range of scenarios in which IMPT could advance mutual public health goals.


At Autodesk, Deborshi analyzes data and writes programs to improve Autodesk’s customer support systems. “Nexleaf’s ask, while in a different domain, was very similar to my day job,” he says. “The challenge here was how to quickly visualize the weakest points in a cold chain, to help countries optimize their vaccine delivery systems.”


A woman healthcare provider holding a syringe, about to administer a vaccine to an infant who is being health by a woman guardian.

Image courtesy of Nexleaf Analytics

Building capacity to advance public health

The pro bono project highlighted the value of data visualization and set Nexleaf on the path to building greater capacity that will strengthen its products and partner relationships, as well as increase its impact on the pressing problem of vaccine distribution. Nexleaf built its learnings from the project into a job description for a recently hired data visualization specialist. With a strong existing track record of using technology to monitor and improve vaccine cold chains, Nexleaf continues to build upon its data-driven approach to scaling solutions. To date, three governments, Haiti, Togo and Senegal, have signed on to use IMPT.

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