World Health Day 2021

World Health Day 2021

Today we mark World Health Day – as COVID-19 continues to impact us all, this year the focus is on acknowledging the importance of building a fairer, healthier world.

Inequalities in access to healthcare services highlighted and exacerbated by the pandemic continue to threaten the most vulnerable among us. For every test conducted in a low-income country, over 80 are being conducted in high-income countries.

In the context of our work with the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, last week we opened a request for proposals to expand access to COVID-19 testing services through self-tests appropriate for use in LMICs. As part of a comprehensive testing programme for COVID-19, self-testing options could transform the COVID-19 response by reducing community spread, when linked to appropriate responses for isolation, contact tracing and care. The submission deadline is 20 April 2021.

Diagnostic gaps are not limited to COVID-19 – the pandemic is widening them across multiple diseases, putting lives and livelihoods at risk. In collaboration with the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), we contributed to a new report released for World Health Day, highlighting the role of in vitro diagnostics in early detection, exploring the barriers to accessing tests particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), and outlining ways to address them.

Access to care means nothing if the quality of the care is not up to par. In testing this could mean missed cases or incorrect diagnosis – both preventing the person from accessing the care they truly need. The issue of poor quality TB care has been recently tackled by the McGill International TB Centre, Mayo Clinic Center for Tuberculosis and the TBPPM Learning Network, with the release a new, freely available e-book of 21 published papers highlighting key gaps and possible solutions that could improve the quality of TB care.

This World Health Day, it is clearer than ever that #HealthForAll will only be achievable if we can guarantee equitable access to the quality tests, treatments and vaccines needed to end not just the COVID-19 pandemic, but all life-threatening diseases.

Emma, Chief Access Officer


In case you missed it: find out about our work with the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) and partners to make access to quality, affordable COVID-19 rapid tests in Ethiopia a reality.