Monitoring by CRPs of SHG (self-help groups) Photo credit: FIND & MYRADA/Shivram Manthena

Women's Health

We are working to enhance access to high-quality, affordable, and reliable diagnostic services for women and girls.

Our mission is to enhance access to high-quality, affordable, and reliable diagnostic services for women and girls aged 10 to 64 in low- and middle-income countries.

By ensuring these vital diagnostic services are accessible at the primary care level and within communities and households, we aim to guarantee that every woman and girl receives informed care precisely when they need it.

Hear from Angela Muriuki, Director of our Women's Health Programme, in conversation with Anouk Petersen of McKinsey Health Institute on investing in women's health.

Yes, diagnostic testing can be a tool for women's empowerment in healthcare, but only if it's designed with their specific needs in mind and actively addresses the existing gender gap.

Angela Muriuki

Director, Women's Health

Access to diagnostic testing presents significant challenges for women and girls, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Gender-related barriers, coupled with limited availability of diagnostics, severely impact their health. Women require more diagnostic tests throughout their lives due to reproductive health needs, pregnancy, and childbirth. Yet, in LMICs, the availability of these essential tests is often lacking. For instance, in some regions, only 13% of women receive the full suite of recommended antenatal tests during pregnancy.

Economic, sociocultural, and gender inequalities further complicate access to necessary testing. Women’s dependency on male family members for financial support limits their healthcare access; a study in Nigeria found 97% of pregnant women relied on their husbands for antenatal testing funds. Additionally, fears about testing procedures, potential stigma from positive diagnoses, and concerns over spousal support post-diagnosis—highlighted by 40% of women in a rural Indian study fearing their spouse’s reaction to a tuberculosis diagnosis—underscore the multifaceted barriers women face in accessing diagnostic services.

Our technical focus

Utilising a life-course approach, our work with women and girls is grouped under three categories:

  • Self care interventions – diagnostics, devices and digital solutions that support health awareness, self-assessment, self-monitoring, self-sampling/self-collection and self-testing.
  • Conditions unique to women and girls – solutions that address gynaecological conditions, female cancers and life stage conditions such as menopause, pregnancy.
  • Conditions disproportionately affecting or presenting differently in women and girls – solutions that address conditions such as anaemia, sexually transmitted infections.

Our programmatic approach

Our program adopts a comprehensive strategy, collaborating with a diverse network of partners including women-focused grassroots organizations, civil society, health providers, regulators, governments, NGOs, the private sector, academia, manufacturers, policy bodies, and donors.

Together, we span the entire diagnostic value chain, from discovery to access, ensuring impactful support for women and girls at both local and global levels.

Our Antimicrobial Resistance programme

We are working to improve access to AMR testing and surveillance so that antibiotic drugs will continue to work for as long as possible and lives can be saved.

Our Non-communicable Diseases programme

We are working to prevent premature mortality due to NCDs, by increasing the availability, affordability and uptake of essential diagnostics for diabetes and other cardiometabolic conditions.