This week, FIND’s Geneva headquarters hosted visiting fellows from the Global Health track of the Duke University Global Policy and Governance in Geneva programme.
Dr Sabine Dittrich, Head of FIND’s Fever Programme, and Sonjelle Shilton, M&E Officer, spoke to the fellows about why diagnosis matters, talking about the role of diagnosis in patient management, treatment monitoring and disease surveillance, and how diagnostic data are relevant for policymakers. They spoke about the enormous gaps in access to high-quality diagnostics in low- and middle-income countries, and about the role of diagnostic tests in fighting the global growth in antimicrobial resistance.
“These students are among our future leaders in global health, so they need to recognize the importance of diagnosis,” said Dr Dittrich. “Everyone knows about medicines and vaccines, but diagnostic tests are sometimes an afterthought. The growth in antimicrobial resistance globally has made people realize the critical role of diagnostic tests in the responsible stewardship of available medicines.”
“Affordability, suitability of diagnostic tests for low-resource settings, and the importance of political will in prioritizing and funding essential diagnostics – these are the issues that policymakers face and that anyone working in global health policy needs to understand,” noted Ms Shilton, who shared the example of the policy change required to scale up access to new hepatitis C diagnostics around the world.
This is the second year FIND has hosted the Duke University programme, which prepares graduate and professional students from around the world to tackle global policy challenges. Fellows gain unique access to UN agencies and other leading Geneva-based institutions for a summer.
The programme is split into three policy tracks: global health; environment, energy and economics; and humanitarian action. The global health track is designed to provide students with knowledge and an experiential perspective on health security and other global health challenges, and to understand how intergovernmental institutions, public-private partnerships and nongovernmental organizations shape global health policy.
- Read more about Duke University’s Program on Global Health here.