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Strengthening Diagnostics Capacity: can a WHA resolution catalyze change? 

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Strengthening diagnostics capacity: Draft decision proposed by Indonesia and Member States of the African Region

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Stakeholder dialogue towards a WHA Resolution on Diagnostic Capacity

On January 16, 2023, the Kingdom of Eswatini hosted a stakeholder dialogue towards a WHA resolution on diagnostic capacity, joining together member states, NGO’s, manufacturers and others. The slides and Q&A can be accessed and downloaded below.

Why is a World Health Assembly Resolution on diagnostics needed?

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that access to timely and accurate diagnosis is an urgent priority for countries to achieve Global Public Health Security. 
  • This requires access to diagnostic tools (laboratory diagnostics and diagnostics imaging) as well as appropriate infrastructure and sufficient trained personnel.
  • But currently 47% of the global population (and 81% of people living in low- and lower-middle income countries) have little to no access to diagnostics.
  • Better access to diagnostics tools
    • Is key to the success of Universal Health Coverage
    • Increases financial protection for households
    • Can help avert 1.1 million deaths annually from 6 key conditions (HIV, TB, hepatitis B, syphilis, hypertension and diabetes)
    • Is critical to slowing down the rise of antimicrobial resistance

How can a World Health Assembly Resolution help make change?

  • We need to bring together many stakeholders – including national professional societies, patients and civil society and industry partners – to work together to advocate for change.
  • We need to take account of gender both in diagnostic needs and workforce composition.
  • A broad range of countries, from different regions and different income levels need to work together.
  • The Resolution provides the chance to set targets and document progress
    • It encompasses goals and actions for national governments
    • It tasks the WHO to monitor progress and report back to a subsequent Assembly
  • The Recommendations of the Lancet Commission on diagnostics can suggest a starting point.