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PAHO, FIND to Expand Diagnostics Access in Latin America, Caribbean

NEW YORK – The Pan American Health Organization and FIND said Wednesday that they will partner on work to expand access to essential diagnostic tests in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The organizations plan to collaborate on programs that would provide more equitable, timely access to quality-assured and cost-effective diagnostics technologies and services. That effort includes promoting testing and diagnostics by first-level healthcare providers to aid national disease elimination strategies, strengthening regional capacities to develop and manufacture diagnostic technologies, promoting collaboration in the regions on technological innovation, and providing technical support to increase regulatory capacities related to diagnostics.

The World Health Organization said in June inadequate access to medical testing is causing illnesses and deaths in remote and low-income homes worldwide, and it called on member countries to invest in the means to close those gaps. WHO officials said in part that diagnostic services are vital to human health.

PAHO and FIND said their partnership is intended to improve health outcomes, improve pandemic preparedness, and help the regions reach WHO sustainable development goals.

"This partnership will play a critical role in improving access to diagnostics for people in the Americas, ensuring equity and affordability," PAHO Director Jarbas Barbosa said in a statement. "It builds upon the existing collaboration and the significant joint efforts made during the COVID-19 pandemic with the aim of better preparing the region for future emergencies."

FIND CEO Bill Rodriguez added that sustainable and resilient health systems depend on diagnostic tests to ensure people receive needed care and healthcare authorities create polices based on accurate and reliable data.

In May, FIND forged a partnership with VIA Global Health to expand access to diagnostics in low- and middle-income countries through new routes to market for test makers. FIND also signed in June a partnership agreement with two South Korean organizations to improve access to diagnostic testing in LMICs through aid to South Korea's diagnostics industry.