Dear FIND colleagues, partners, friends,
2020 has been a year like no other, for every single one of us. When reports of a new virus called SARS-CoV-2 started to emerge at the beginning of the year, we immediately began working with WHO, Africa CDC and others to bolster testing capacity to try to understand what was going on and contain the threat. Since then, COVID-19 has up-ended all our lives in unimaginable ways. Co-convening the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator Diagnostics Pillar alongside the Global Fund and WHO has enabled our organization to begin operating more as a global diagnostics alliance – a key shift that we are excited to build on as we kick off a new strategic period next year.
The pandemic has not only presented its own Herculean challenges, it has also been the cause of life-threatening disruption to other essential health services. Countries have reported significant challenges in care delivery for TB, malaria and HIV, as well as non-communicable diseases like diabetes and hypertension. With the spotlight firmly on testing this year, the impact of glaring diagnostic gaps has been on full display, and I can only hope that from this crisis we can truly build back better to make resilient, accessible health systems that recognize and prioritize testing as a critical element of healthcare.
I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the commitment and passion that has been so evident this year from our collaborators, partners and colleagues. All our existing core donors stepped up their funding in a demonstration of trust in us and our work on COVID-19 testing, and we have also welcomed new donors, including the Government of Canada, State of Kuwait and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as well as the Rockefeller Foundation. Thank you all for being part of this journey with us, and for supporting our efforts in COVID-19 and beyond – as we have also worked together to find creative ways to keep our regular disease programmes running as smoothly as possible.
I wish you and your loved ones a peaceful and safe holiday break, and look forward to working with you next year as we strive to help bring the chaos of the pandemic to a close, while emerging stronger with a renewed focus on global health security and universal health coverage.