National Product Catalog

The USAID Digital Strategy 2020-2024 alongside The Vision for Action in Digital Health outline USAID’s deliberate and holistic commitment to strengthen open, inclusive, and secure digital ecosystems in support of governments' initiatives to help people live freer, healthier, and more prosperous lives. Digital ecosystems encompass the collective stakeholders, systems, and enabling environments that empower people and communities to use digital technology to gain access to services, engage with each other, or pursue economic opportunities. These digital ecosystems are transforming how people access information, goods, services, and opportunities.

GHSC-PSM is committed to continuous improvement in health outcomes and to explore innovations that may advance to this end. As global health supply chains expand and become more complex, measures that help increasing coordination and transparency become essential.

A key component on this is the use of online National Product Catalog (NPC). This tool facilitates the adoption of standardized product information, thus eliminating the need for manual interventions to keep all supply chain actors in synch, which represents a very common challenge for national healthcare supply chains in low- and middle-income countries.

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Data that identifies and defines a product is often represented inconsistently and in a non-standardized manner across different supply chain entities. Using standards-based product master data serves as the foundation for better communication, and hence coordination between the different supply chain actors.

Master data management includes the management of product master data and is a combination of policies, processes, and technologies that consolidate, clean, and enhance master data, and facilitates synchronization of that data with all applicable applications, business process, and analytics tools. The ability to maintain a product master data program that enables standardization of trade item data is foundational for achieving end-to-end visibility and traceability. Implementing a national product catalog (NPC) facilitates this. To learn more about broader master data management concepts, please see the GHSC-PSM Product Master Data Reference Guide.

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Standardized product information will improve planning, and help mitigating supply chain exceptions, such as stockouts, by eliminating duplicate and inaccurate representations of product data.

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A National Product Catalog is central to well-coordinated National Healthcare Supply Chains. They help improve collaboration across supply chain entities, processes & systems, thus providing end-to-end visibility of medical commodities.

 

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Having implemented NPC in Rwanda and Malawi, GHSC-PSM has developed guidance documents for national stakeholders to support NPC implementations. The guidance documents are categorized under ‘Data’, ‘People’, ‘Policy & Process’ and ‘Technology’.

Data related resources include a data governance terms of reference and a simplified list of standardized product master data attributes to initiate the NPC journey without overwhelming data sources. A data request template is included for countries to initially request data from key manufacturers. An open data set includes a starter set of GTINs and basic attributes. People are key to ensuring a successful NPC implementation. Countries should establish a Catalog Manager Role to manage product master data. A sample job description for this role is included here.

Policy is key in ensuring sustainable sourcing of product master data from manufacturers. The master data guidelines template provides basic framework that regulators can adopt as part of their regulations. A standard operating procedure guidance document is included to help structure processes around product master data management. Implementation plan template can be tailored to suit country NPC implementation needs and priorities.

Finally, Technology includes key system implementation resources including links to the open source mobile application that can integrate with NPC (if utilizing PCMT).

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Ethiopia NPC Implementation Updates (As of early 2021)

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Malawi NPC Implementation Updates (As of early 2021)

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Rwanda NPC Implementation Updates (As of early 2021)

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NPC implementations in Ethiopia, Malawi and Rwanda utilized the open source tool, PCMT. PCMT is a reference implementation for the product registry component within OpenHIE framework. NPC Implementation Resources include a reference to PCMT webpage for further details on this open source tool.

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To learn more about how establishing a national product catalog can help address supply chain challenges through enabling product information management and standardization, view the below video.