Prioritizing Diagnostics on the Global Agenda
Expanding access to strengthen global health systems
As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, policymakers, industry professionals, and practitioners convening at this year’s World Health Assembly will be keenly focused on strengthening pandemic preparedness and health systems resilience globally. Access to timely and accurate diagnosis will be vital to achieving these goals and global health security going forward. Yet, 47% of the global population — 81% of whom reside in low- and lower-middle-income countries — have little or no access to diagnostics, according to the Lancet Commission. Expanding access to diagnostics across developing countries, in particular, could help avoid 1.1 million deaths annually from HIV, TB, hepatitis B, syphilis, hypertension, and diabetes. Further, innovations in financing, technology, and workforce development can help close the access gap if prioritized, funded, and scaled.
It was with these issues and urgency in mind, and on the occasion of the World Health Assembly, that Foreign Policy, in partnership with Roche, convened policymakers and stakeholders for a high-profile discussion on access to diagnostics, their contribution to universal health care, and global health system resilience. The discussion explored the strategies and partnerships that can meaningfully expand equitable access to diagnostics, and the health and socioeconomic impacts that greater access can have for individuals and communities around the world.