FIND (www.FINDdx.org) is calling for commitments to support the implementation of the Resolution on diagnostics that was adopted at the World Health Assembly earlier this year; A Collaboration Agreement has been signed with the Rwanda Biomedical Centre to support digitally enabled, equitable access to testing; FIND and the Independent Pandemic Preparedness Secretariat have launched a new report on transforming diagnostics to improve pandemic preparedness.
At a “Diagnostics Dinner” (https://apo-opa.co/3GsaZg9) event held yesterday on the sidelines of the 3rd International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA), Lusaka, Zambia, FIND called for commitments (https://apo-opa.co/48dflE7) from organizations and countries to support implementation at global, regional, and country levels of the Resolution on diagnostics (https://apo-opa.co/3uDmBdX) that was adopted earlier this year at the World Health Assembly (WHA). A commitment tracker showcasing the commitments will be launched during WHA 2024.
The call was made as FIND announced at the event a new Collaboration Agreement with the Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) that links to the implementation of the Resolution in Rwanda. The agreement outlines strategic initiatives planned jointly by FIND and RBC to accelerate diagnostic innovation, including clinical evaluations of new tests and AI-based tools, and regional manufacturing of new tests, as well as boosting disease surveillance and genomic sequencing capabilities. RBC and FIND are already in the process of kicking off some of these initiatives towards enabling digitally powered, integrated screening at a community healthcare level, and understanding values and preferences towards non-invasive malaria diagnostic tests.
At the same event, FIND and the International Pandemic Preparedness Secretariat (IPPS) launched a new report on diagnostics for pandemic preparedness. The report, Making the exceptional routine: embedding diagnostic best practice to improve public health and pandemic preparedness (https://apo-opa.co/3R3R38m), is co-authored by FIND and the 100 Days Mission Science and Technology Expert Group, including Dr Yenew Kebede of Africa CDC and Dr Mariângela Simão of Instituto Todos pela Saúde. Highlighting the role of diagnostics as integral for pandemic preparedness and response, it addresses multiplex and digitally connected diagnostics, along with test-and-treat strategies, as key enablers for the integration of testing into healthcare systems. The report calls for policymakers, research funders, regulatory authorities and international organizations to invest in these enablers to provide a robust foundation for global health systems to respond to endemic and pandemic diseases.
Diagnostics are critical to sustainable, resilient health systems. The Diagnostics Dinner event brought together stakeholders from across the African continent and beyond, to discuss progress and opportunities in diagnostic testing that can address persistent inequities and help ensure everyone who needs a test can get one, whenever and wherever they need it. Technology innovations and advances in regional manufacturing were explored, together with a case study on how diagnostic testing is enabling the elimination of sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis) in multiple countries. The importance of building health systems for people rather than diseases, with a strong emphasis on strengthening testing services in primary care, was discussed as key to both universal health coverage (UHC) and pandemic preparedness.
Dr Ntombi Sigwebela, Regional Director, South Africa at FIND, said: “The WHA Resolution is an unprecedented opportunity to rally the whole global health community and ensure that diagnostics are prioritized as essential to health system resilience, for both patient care and disease surveillance. UHC and global health security are two sides of the same coin. We welcome this new collaboration with RBC to strengthen diagnostic services, and thank IPPS for their leadership as we work together to make the 100 Days Mission for diagnostics a reality.”
Professor Claude Mambo Muvunyi, Director General, RBC, said: “As RBC, we now believe that diagnostics are the heartbeat of effective healthcare, pulsating with the rhythm of early detection, swift response, and resilient preparedness. As we prioritize diagnostics as a core component, we not only enhance our healthcare services but fortify our nation’s readiness to face outbreaks. Rwanda’s vision extends beyond the hospitals, it envisions diagnostics reaching the last mile – from primary healthcare centres to dedicated community workers. In this commitment, we do not only diagnose diseases but empower communities, making health a shared journey towards resilience and well-being. In alignment with the recent World Health Assembly declaration on diagnostics, we affirm our commitment to a healthier and more resilient future, where timely and accurate diagnostics are the cornerstone of Rwanda citizen well-being.”
Dr Yenew Kebede Tebeje, Head of the Division of Laboratory Systems&Networks at Africa CDC and 100 Days Mission STEG member said: “The report we are launching today from the 100 Days Mission STEG and FIND sets out the paradigm shift we need in diagnostics, to embed access to multiplex and digitally connected diagnostics in everyday healthcare, as well as expand test-and-treat strategies. Access to testing is a fundamental part of strengthening health systems and enabling us to be better prepared to meet all health threats, including epidemics and pandemics.”
Further details about the Diagnostics Dinner event can be found online here (https://apo-opa.co/3GsaZg9).
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FIND.
Sarah-Jane Loveday, Director, Communications
M: +41 79 431 62 44
FIND accelerates equitable access to reliable diagnosis around the world. We are working to close critical testing gaps that leave people at risk from preventable and treatable illnesses, enable effective disease surveillance, and build sustainable, resilient health systems. In partnership with countries, WHO and other global health agencies, we are driving progress towards global health security and universal health coverage. We are a WHO Collaborating Centre for Laboratory Strengthening and Diagnostic Technology Evaluation. For more information, please visit www.finddx.org