FIND to strengthen diagnostics, diversify beyond TB in India

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on November 08, 2019 Published on November 08, 2019

Catharina Boehme, Chief Executive Officer, FIND.


FIND, the global non-profit, diagnostics provider is betting big on India’s ambitious Ayushman Bharat, the universal health cover, to play a significant role in healthcare management.

The organisation, with 28 international donors, has helped establish 61 of the existing culture and drug-susceptibility testing (C &DST) facilities in India. It will not only help expand this further but also diversify into diagnostics targeted at hepatitis C, fever management and anti-microbial resistance in the near future, according to its Chief Executive Officer, Catharina Boehme.

“We can bring in latest diagnostic tools, tests, latest research & development targeting healthcare issues that the Universal Health cover proposes to focus on. Diagnostics is the key to a major part of its success ”, Catharina, who was in Hyderabad for the 50th International Union of Lung Health told Business Line.

Through the Ayushman Bharat, launched by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in 2018, the government aims to provide health coverage for over 500 million people. Achieving coverage at this scale needs quality diagnosis to enable linkage to quality care. But too often, fit-for-purpose diagnostics are not available, or affordable.

The FIND signed two MoUs with Social Alpha and the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI) to address diagnostic needs that are critical to enabling universal health coverage (UHC) in India and beyond.

The 5-year collaboration with Social Alpha will focus on initiation and scale-up of innovative business models and financing mechanisms, including exploration of funding opportunities and mentoring of potential innovators in the development and delivery of market-appropriate diagnostic technologies.

THSTI will work with FIND, also over a period of five years, to develop point-of-care tests for tuberculosis and hepatitis C, and tools that can identify causes of fever (including malaria) to reduce antibiotic overuse, alongside development of key training programmes, said Sanjay Sarin, Head of FIND India.

The non-profit also announced a new initiative, supported by Johnson & Johnson that will help build and strengthen the capacity of at least seven tuberculosis (TB), C&DST facilities in India, in collaboration with the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP). These labs are in the high-burden TB states of Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

The WHO recommends the establishment of at least one TB C&DST laboratory per 10 million people – in India, this equates to 125–130 laboratories. Since 2010, FIND has been a key technical and implementing partner of India’s RNTCP for the nationwide laboratory network and has helped in the establishment of all 61 of the currently existing C&DST laboratories.

FIND established its presence in India in 2007 and is a key technical partner for the Ministry of Health. It is working on a range of technical and community-level interventions across the country in tuberculosis, viral hepatitis, antimicrobial resistance (AMR), fevers and digital health, Sanjay Sarin said.

Published on November 08, 2019
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