The importance of diagnostics was underscored at the recent 2023 World Health Assembly (21-30 May 2023), (read more), with the adoption of the WHO’s statement on strengthening diagnostics capacity (read more).
It urges each of the 194 WHO member states to create its own national diagnostic strategy, emphasizing that these plans should cover regulation, workforce, data integrity, and management of diagnostics.
This statement follows the lead of The Lancet’s 2021 Commission on Diagnostics (please see https://www.thelancet.com/commissions/diagnostics and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvib4Qg0IUs please see recommendations 6 and 7) .
The Commission noted that 47% of the world’s population does not have access to adequate and timely tests.
Separately but very much related, the WHO/WHA statement also calls for the creation of an International Alliance for Diagnostics.
This is not just an issue in the developing world. When COVID first hit, none of the wealthy countries were prepared to quickly and effectively use testing to combat disease. We need to learn this lesson as well.