Maximizing the full health impact of new diagnostic tests requires successful introduction and wide access to all who need them.
New tests can be challenging to introduce because they may first require a cascade of national policy changes, modifications to diagnostic protocols and algorithms, procurement of new equipment, and training as well as new or revised guidance documents and job aids for laboratory staff, clinicians and other health-care workers…in other words, changes from the national level right down to the health facility level.
FIND offers a wide range of services and resources designed to support health ministries and national disease control programmes to introduce and increase access to new diagnostic tests.
Assessments & tailored guidance
FIND conducts country assessments — typically at the request of the World Health Organization or health ministry — to determine the readiness of laboratories to start using new diagnostic tests. Based on these assessments, FIND can provide a range of support services tailored to meet the country’s specific needs, if required.
FIND supports health ministries with guidance for planning the implementation of new diagnostic tools in alignment with national laboratory and disease-specific strategic plans, and supports the development of diagnostic algorithms based on WHO recommendations. FIND also works with national and international implementing and funding partners to ensure a harmonized approach to supporting and strengthening national laboratory capacity.
Early implementation support
In the initial phases of introducing new diagnostic approaches, substantial changes in clinical and laboratory practices are often required. FIND supports a learning-by-doing approach to build sustainable capacity. To this end, FIND develops and customizes training materials, practical tools and job aids to support the deployment of new technologies. In addition, FIND trains laboratory, clinical and supervisory staff, and mentors and supports programme coordinators, in-country trainers and advanced users. FIND also evaluates programmes during implementation and provides troubleshooting support for any problems that may arise.
Quality assurance & laboratory management
FIND develops and promotes comprehensive approaches for ensuring reliable and accurate testing and also for the reporting of diagnostics data by:
- Supporting the creation and implementation of quality assurance systems, and
- Strengthening the capacity of individual laboratories as well as of laboratory networks.
In both areas, FIND establishes stand-alone resources and customizable programmes to meet the specific needs and contexts of each country. FIND collaborates in this work with partners such as WHO, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, UNITAID, ASLM and the Stop TB Partnership’s Global Laboratories Initiative.
- Quality assurance – Accelerating access to diagnostics
One of the most important benefits of FIND’s engagement with industry partners is the ability to negotiate affordable pricing for new health technologies in low- and middle-income countries. FIND negotiates pricing for eligible countries and makes that information publicly available, along with details on how products can be purchased from manufacturers at reduced prices.