On 14 September 2023, a delegation of partners of the Digital Diagnostics for Africa Network led by Professor Aubrey Cunnington joined the Science Summit at United Nations General Assembly 78 to present the most advanced digital diagnostics current under development.
The session was convened by Imperial College London’s Global Development Hub and the Digital Diagnostics for Africa Network (DIDA), and aimed at illustrating different approaches to digital diagnostics development, explaining the potential of digital diagnostics to create new models of healthcare, and ultimately discussing the opportunities and challenges for digital diagnostics, and the role that policymakers can play.
Dr Jean Philbert Nsengimana, from Africa CDC,
Professor Jonathan Cooper (University of Glasgow), Dr Emmanel Milimo and Dr Harriet Mpairwe, from DIDA Diagnostics
Dr Kasia Szostak-Lipowicz from ProtonDx (an Imperial spinout)
Darlington Akogo, from minoHealth AI Labs
Dr James Seddon, from Imperial College and Stellenbosch University (Cape Town)
The session was chaired by Professor Aubrey Cunnington, Lead of the DIDA Network, Professor of Paediatric Infectious Disease, and Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases at St Mary's Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
Professor Aubrey Cunnington commented:
“Diagnostic tests determine many medical decisions, but most of the population of the African continent have little or no access to diagnostics. I’m really excited that we were able to bring together so many leaders in digital diagnostics for this event, in front of policymakers from around the world, to demonstrate the potential of these technologies to transform access to diagnostics and improve health.”
The importance of health diagnostics in the SDGs is increasingly being recognised, with the recent 2023 World Health Assembly passing a resolution highlighting the importance of diagnostics for improving health at a global level.
Event speaker, Professor Julie Makani (left), from the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) in Tanzania and Provost's Visiting Professor of Haematology at Imperial, commented: “There has been unprecedented progress in diagnostics. Two examples are DNA-Based Diagnosis for COVID-19 and Sickle Cell Disease. The world has seen how diagnostic tests can be developed and deployed across the world to improve health. This session at the Science Summit at UNGA in September was an excellent opportunity to catalyse discussion with policymakers, funders, public and scientists.”
Recordings of the session are available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8W4OZwmZ2Q
A full description of the event can be found at these links: