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FIND Partnerships to Deploy COVID-19 Rapid Tests to Refugees, Displaced People in the Middle East

NEW YORK ─ FIND announced on Thursday that it has formed two partnerships to implement rapid antigen testing for COVID-19 among vulnerable, displaced people in the Middle East region.

The global nonprofit, based in Geneva, is partnering with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to implement rapid antigen tests in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.

The initiative aims to increase access to testing for those in need, including internally displaced people and healthcare workers, FIND said.

Evidence will be generated about the optimal use of diagnostic tests in complex humanitarian emergencies to tackle other diseases and efficiently respond to future health crises, FIND added.

Millions of people displaced by conflict and other humanitarian crises have limited or no access to COVID-19 testing, leaving them vulnerable to the virus. Meanwhile, rapid antigen tests have proven to be a vital tool in controlling the spread of COVID-19 due to their ease of use, fast results, low cost, and suitability for decentralized testing, FIND said.

As part of the initiative, FIND and IOM will procure 100,000 COVID-19 Ag RDTs and deploy them to the conflict-affected regions of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and northern Syria. They aim to build local capacity to use the tests effectively and develop testing algorithms and strategies that respond to context-specific need, FIND said.

Meanwhile, FIND and the IRC will support training, testing facility readiness, test distribution, and quality assurance needed to ensure access to rapid antigen tests and appropriate referral of positive cases in the north of Syria.