PATH has organised a pilot in Tanzania to determine whether barcodes could be used successfully to track vaccines and provide automated vaccine arrival reports. In the project, Pfizer shipped a vaccine marked to Tanzania with a GS1 DataMatrix. The GS1 DataMatrix included a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), lot number, and expiration date on the secondary packaging of the vaccine. This was in line with the recent WHO endorsement recommending GS1 barcodes on all packaging levels (except primary packaging) - read Pharmaceuticals & Medical Packaging News article.
Following the positive results, the project will be rolled out further across Tanzania and also possibly to other countries and for other commodities. Additionally other manufacturers have also shipped vaccines with the recommended identification to Tanzania. A technical guideline related to the identification and marking has been published to support implementation.