Improving the development and deployment of rapid diagnostic tests in LMICs

The Academy of Medical Sciences, in collaboration with the InterAcademy Partnership for Health (IAP for Health), convened a policy workshop on rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) in London on the 21 November 2016.


This one-day workshop, chaired by Professor Sanjeev Krishna FMedSci, in collaboration with the IAP for Healthfacilitated discussions around how to improve the development and deployment of RDTs in low and middle-income countries (LMICs).

RDTs offer a significant opportunity to improve healthcare provision in LMICs, for infectious and non-communicable diseases. They are revolutionising how disease is diagnosed and treated, and are helping to deliver higher standards of healthcare and greater efficiency across public and private health care sectors as well as at the community level.

However, for them to be optimally useful they need to be readily available, perform well and health workers who use them must be trained appropriately. Achieving this is dependent on barriers to development and deployment being identified and addressed, and all members of the community working collaboratively to support the process from discovery to deployment.

The workshop therefore brought together experts and evidence to explore the current, and potential, impact of RDTs in low and middle income settings across disease groups as well as identify barriers and challenges for developing and implementing RDTs in LMICs. The workshop also explored state-of-the-art platforms and technologies which are currently under development and in doing so facilitated cross-sector discussion and identified areas which would benefit from greater collaboration.

The participants consisted of experts based in the UK and also from a number of LMICs, including those from Academies in these countries, who were able to provide insights into RDT use in their own settings. An important part of this work will be to follow up the outcomes with them and action the recommendations.

Following the workshop, a written report is being produced and disseminated to UK and international stakeholders with key recommendations of next steps to improve the development and deployment of RDTs.

This workshop is funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund that aims to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries. Visit the Research Council UK website to read more about the GCRF.

 For more information about the broader work done by the Academy in this area, please see our objective page on Seizing international opportunities.

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