This past year has been transformative for FIND in many ways. The pandemic has put our organization to the test, with diagnostics garnering global attention as the world grapples to contain the virus. Through our co-leadership of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator diagnostics pillar we have been instrumental in developing a blueprint for transformative action, with new and strengthened partnerships emerging alongside vital political will, and greatly increased visibility in the global health community.
While responding to the COVID-19 crisis, our work in TB, malaria & fever, hepatitis C, and neglected tropical diseases has continued, alongside our efforts to help contain the “silent pandemic” of antimicrobial resistance. Acknowledging the double burden of infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), we have now started working on diabetes and other NCDs.
During this tumultuous year, we also embarked on our new 3-year strategy – I am excited to let you know that this plan is nearing completion and the final documentation will be available on our website very shortly. Many people reading this have provided valuable input, thank you to everyone who took the time to comment.
Those who are already familiar with the direction of the new strategy will know that we are growing our ACT-Accelerator partnerships into an international alliance for diagnostics beyond the pandemic, to deliver on our mission to ensure equitable access to reliable diagnosis. During the last year, the close collaboration with WHO, the Global Fund and Africa CDC – critical ACT-Accelerator anchor partners – made a big difference to our COVID-19 diagnostic response. Moving forward, many organizations are looking to engage with us to shape a diagnostic alliance, to address the massive gaps in testing for both global health security and universal health coverage – “two sides of the same coin”.
As part of our journey into this new strategic period, FIND is undergoing a leadership transition. Some of you may know that I have been appointed to a leadership role at WHO, working with Dr Tedros and his team. During this transition period, the FIND executive team will be led by Sergio Carmona as Acting CEO and Chief Medical Officer, with Emma Hannay (Chief Access Officer) and Louisa Chaubert (Director of Finance). The extended leadership team comprises Marta Fernandez-Suarez (Director of R&D), Sharon Saacks (Director of Operations) and Willo Brock (Director of External Affairs).
I am very proud of what FIND has achieved over the last years, and am so grateful for the support from all our stakeholders – together we have brought diagnostics and testing out of the shadows and undoubtedly transformed lives. I have every confidence in the amazing team and wish the whole organization well as this new chapter begins. Thank you all.
A note from our Acting CEO, Sergio Carmona:
Thanks to Catharina’s leadership, commitment and tireless dedication to our organization, FIND is today positioned at the very forefront of diagnostics and testing – evidenced by our important role in the ACT-Accelerator and the global pandemic response, as well as having helped to realize 15 new diagnostic tools in the last 5 years alone. Those of you who have followed FIND for many years will recall the turnaround that she oversaw on taking over the CEO role, and the expansion of our remit from three diseases to the 15 that we work on today. Keeping our structure agile and adaptable, our new strategy reflects her vision and we are looking forward to implementing it as the international alliance for diagnostics begins to take shape. We wish her the very best in her new role.
I would also like to thank all our stakeholders for your continued commitment and partnership. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or the team at any time.