Access to testing
Ensuring that diagnostic innovation can reach those who need a test is a critical part of our work at FIND. Too often, diagnostics for diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) and hepatitis are confined to centralized laboratories with sophisticated infrastructure and skilled personnel to conduct and process the tests, and test results cannot always be delivered the same day.
But it is not just practical barriers that can inhibit access to testing. Social and cultural barriers exist as well: marginalized groups such as injection-drug users, people living with HIV, and women and children also struggle to get tested.
Despite the fact that primary health care addresses the majority of a person’s health needs throughout their lifetime, basic diagnostic capacity is available in just 1% of primary care clinics (and 14% of hospitals). True point-of-care tests that can be carried out in clinics, in community settings including pharmacies, schools and even at home, are urgently needed for a wide range of diseases.
Service delivery must also be optimized by being built or reshaped according to patient needs and care-seeking behaviour. Integration across disease areas, for example, not only helps to improve the patient experience, but also enables services to operate more efficiently and constrained budgets to stretch further.
Our access team works on cross-cutting initiatives designed to help everyone in low- and middle-income countries who needs a test access one, no matter who they are or the area in which they live.
Our access strategy underlines our commitment to ensuring that new tools are available for use and sustainably supplied in low- and middle-income countries, that they are affordable in resource-poor settings, appropriate to the needs of the target population and adopted into national policy.