FIND statement on priority 1 at the second health working group of the G20 in India

Priority 1:

Health emergencies prevention, preparedness and response (with focus on One Health and AMR)

Delivered by Sanjay Sarin, FIND VP, Access
Goa, India, 17 April 2023

    Respected delegates,

    Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and future outbreaks of infectious diseases are inevitable, but we can stop them becoming pandemics by strengthening early-warning and response systems that are built on digitally connected, diagnostic testing, accessible at the primary healthcare level.

    FIND, in coordination with CEPI and the Secretariat set up after the UK G7, has been leading the diagnostics component of the 100 Days Mission to make diagnostics available, at scale, within the first 100 days of the declaration of a major public health event. Currently this diagnostic component of the framework is entirely unfunded. Investment in these critical R&D activities now, will have a major economic return and save lives for a very minimal investment. AMR, as deliberated by this working group, is a critical topic in health security, which also needs significant investment in point-of-care rapid diagnostics and will strongly benefit from links to the R&D work planned as part of the pandemic preparedness framework under discussion.

    We would like to highlight and compliment the leadership of Oman and Saudi Arabia in the organization of the third and fourth Ministerial-level meetings on AMR, as well as the G20, on contributing to the development of the Pandemic Fund for which disease surveillance, early warning systems and strengthening laboratory systems are key priorities. FIND has been approached by several countries to support the implementation of surveillance, testing and linked R&D programmes. We stress the importance to further fund the Pandemic Fund and similar investments, as clearly both the need and the demand from countries and from a global health security point of view significantly outpaces the available funding.

    On the topic of AMR, FIND urges G20 countries to prioritize diagnostics for tuberculosis (TB), which has once again become the world’s deadliest infectious disease and a major contributor to AMR worldwide. We need to increase TB testing options and evaluate alternative sampling methods to accurately screen and diagnose more people and connect them to care.  We would also like to see tools like wider use of targeted next-generation sequencing for rapid and comprehensive drug-resistant TB diagnosis and patient-centric care. This will leverage the infrastructure and capacity built for COVID-19 genomic surveillance in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and ensure maintenance of capacity built under such stressful circumstances during COVID-19 to ensure this capacity will continue to be available for future pandemics.

    On behalf of FIND, I will close by saying “One Earth, One Family, One Future” is not just a theme but a mantra that we must embrace to jointly address AMR, health emergencies and pandemic preparedness to enable universal health coverage.