Barcodes Without Borders

Streamline supplies thousands of critical labels to the NHS each year across the UK but the story of these particular labels is a little different. In this blog find out more about how Streamline barcode labels are helping save and improve the lives of people in Guyana, South America.

A unique medical outreach program

Twice a year, a group of local and international doctors, gold miners, accountants, builders,  nurses, chicken farmers, scientists, and fishermen travel from the four corners of the world to volunteer their services, knowledge, and skills in a unique medical outreach program in Guyana, formally known as British Guiana. 

They travel in convoys through the jungle, savannah, and mountains, sometimes repairing vehicles and rebuilding river bridges as they go to make it to their destination. Rainy season often cuts off villages from passable roads and pontoon crossings are used to get our team vehicles to get back on the path.

The volunteers bring dental, vision, vaccination, women’s health, and diabetes screening directly into the heart of geographically remote villages. The team is Remote Area Medical and Rotary International volunteers and they fuse seamlessly to deliver free care with compassion, expertise, and ingenuity. 

Removing and repairing a leaking radiator at the side of the road.

Cervical cancer screen-and-treat

A main focus is the cervical cancer screen-and-treat program. Guyana has a high incidence and death rate from cervical cancer. It is often a race against time to get to these villages and identify the women most at risk. Quickly ensuring they receive the treatment required can mean ensuring that they live to see their children grow. 

We screen for the virus that can cause the disease, and we then follow up with biopsies and surgical removal of the abnormal tissue. With all these samples, it is imperative that we use best practices to ensure samples are labelled correctly. A wrongly labelled tube could have devastating downstream results. 

Until now, the volunteers have been using a permanent marker to scribe the patient’s details on samples and associated forms. However, with temperatures up to 40°C, variations of human handwriting, and vehicles that end up submerged under water whilst trying to cross creeks to reach the patients, the risk of smudged and unreadable sample labels is a real one. Streamlines barcode labels have reduced any risk and ensure the volunteers can track and follow each sample in a more accurate way.

Streamline donated barcode labels

Streamline donated rolls of barcode labels that will be used to ensure robustness and 100% accuracy in the sample collection process resulting in correct results getting to the correct patient at the correct time. The team of volunteers will start to use Streamline barcode labels on their next trip to Guyana in March 2023. 

These barcode labels reduce the risk of human error in the labelling process, reduce labelling time, and increased the number of samples that can be processed at one time. Above all else, improved the robustness of this important project that directly improves the lives of women in Guyana. These barcode labels bring a 21st-century healthcare solution right into the heart of tackling the global fight against cervical cancer.

To read more about Streamline’s labels, click here.