Gender equality in the spotlight as FIND highlights the critical role of women in expanding access to testing

  • On International Women’s Day 2021, Global Health 50/50’s latest report, Gender equality: flying blind in a time of crisis, recognizes FIND as a high performer among 201 influential organizations active in global health
  • The 50/50 report highlights that while commitment to gender equality has grown steadily since 2018, most COVID-19 health programming activities do not recognize how gender affects people’s health
  • These findings follow a recent report from FIND and Women in Global Health that showed how testing and women’s empowerment lead to better health for all

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – 8 March 2021 – The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) has been recognized as one of 33 high-performing organizations in this year’s Global Health 50/50 report, Gender equality: flying blind in a time of crisis. The report, released today on International Women’s Day, reviews the gender-related policies and practices of 201 global organizations active in global health.

“On behalf of Global Health 50/50, we would like to congratulate FIND for their strong performance in the 2021 Gender and Health Index,” said Kent Buse and Sarah Hawkes, Co-directors, Global Health 50/50. “By taking deliberate and transparent actions, FIND keeps the pressure on themselves and others in the sector to continue pushing for change and provides much needed hope that we can achieve gender equality in our quest for health, dignity and social justice for all.”

The recognition reflects FIND’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion both internally within the organization, and externally in programmatic work in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). In November 2020, FIND and Women in Global Health partnered on a joint report, Health in their hands: testing & women’s empowerment means better health for all – the first comprehensive evidence gathering and analysis of the barriers to testing for women. This research highlighted the alarming diagnostic gap in LMICs, acknowledging the sobering reality of drastic testing inequalities that restrict access for women to the detriment of health for all. Key recommendations were put forward on how health systems can accommodate women’s testing needs while involving them in the process.

With a focus on the global response to the pandemic, the Global Health 50/50 report released today adds important new data to this conversation, finding that a consideration of gender was present in fewer than two in ten COVID-19 health-related activities – ranging from research and development of vaccines, access to health services, protecting healthcare workers and supporting national and global surveillance. Just 10% of activities relating to vaccinations or the protection of healthcare workers considered gender.

“The pandemic continues to expose major gaps in access to healthcare, and this research is a critical reminder that gender considerations must be fully integrated into programmes so they are not overlooked when we are tackling emergency situations,” said Emma Hannay, Chief Access Officer at FIND. “We welcome the Global Health 50/50 report every year as an important barometer of how our organization is performing, helping us to identify the areas in which we can continue to improve.”

The forthcoming FIND strategy for 2021–2023 has a particular focus on vulnerable populations, including women and children.

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About FIND
FIND is a global non-profit organization that drives innovation in the development and delivery of diagnostics to combat major diseases affecting the world’s poorest populations. Our work bridges R&D to access, overcoming scientific barriers to technology development; generating evidence for regulators and policymakers; addressing market failures; and enabling accelerated uptake and access to diagnostics in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Since 2003, we have been instrumental in the development of 24 new diagnostic tools used in 150 LMICs. Over 50 million FIND-supported products have been provided to our target markets since the start of 2015. A WHO Collaborating Centre, we work with more than 200 academic, industry, governmental, and civil society partners worldwide, on over 70 active projects that cross six priority disease areas. FIND is committed to a future in which diagnostics underpin treatment decisions and provide the foundation for disease surveillance, control and prevention.

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