News @ JSI

JSI Pioneers the Use of Barcodes for Public Health Supply Chains

January 3, 2018

Barcodes have been used in the pharmaceutical industry for several decades to identify and capture product information and trace products from the point of origin to their destination. Despite its widespread use in the global north, the mechanism less frequently applied in the global south, especially for health care purposes, including supply chain management.

A recent publication in Global Health: Science and Practice describes how barcodes can be used to track and trace health products in the supply chain, but to do so efficiently, they should be based on global standards rather than proprietary systems, and data should be integrated into national health information systems to achieve end-to-end data visibility.

The publication references JSI’s work through the United States Agency for International Development DELIVER PROJECT to strengthen public health supply chains by standardizing barcoding under a single set of global standards. From 2015, JSI collaborated with partners to pilot test how tracking and tracing of bar-coded health products could be operationalized in the public health supply chains of Ethiopia and Pakistan. JSI continues to incorporate track and trace and barcode technology into developing world supply chains including in Ethiopia.

This formative research identified a clear need to raise awareness of existing global standards, including for barcodes, and the value of integrating their use into routine supply chain operations for the health care sector. Read More Than Bar Codes: Integrating Global Standards-Based Bar Code Technology Into National Health Information Systems in Ethiopia and Pakistan to Increase End-to-End Supply Chain Visibility to learn more about JSI’s efforts to improve end-to-end supply chain visibility in Ethiopia and Pakistan. 

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