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Global Challenges Research Fund supports expansion of reach52 diagnostics services in low- and middle-income countries

In low- and middle-income countries, access to affordable diagnostics and screening is undoubtedly one of the biggest barriers in healthcare. We create access to medicines through our reach52 marketplace service in our communities, but clearly patients can’t benefit unless they have been diagnosed for their disease. Nor can patients’ conditions be effectively monitored and treated over time without access to the right diagnostics. Take diabetes as an example. In rural Philippines, patients usually have to go to private labs for screening, and a comprehensive panel costs approximately $50 in a private hospital lab or outpatient diagnostic center, 10 times more than the average daily earning of a community resident. In our rural communities in Cambodia, the HbA1c test can only be accessed via private labs or at the district hospital which is 30-40 kms away, and costs around $10. Expanding access to quality diagnostics is essential to access to primary healthcare for everyone.

With the backing of the Global Challenges Research Fund and UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), reach52 is increasing our focus on this significant global health challenge. The Global Challenges Research Fund is a £1.5 billion fund that supports cutting-edge research to address challenges faced by developing countries. It is part of the UK’s official development assistance (ODA). The fund addresses the United Nations sustainable development goals. It aims to maximise the impact of research and innovation to improve lives and opportunity in the developing world. UKRI is one of the delivery partners alongside Scottish Funding Council, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, Higher Education Division Northern Ireland, Academy of Medical Sciences, Royal Society, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering and UK Space Agency.

The funding will support a new reach52 project to evaluate the opportunity and needs for community-based diagnostics services in rural Philippines and Cambodia. The project will determine the market feasibility of direct-to-home screening and testing services that can be established to improve population health outcomes for the long term. This is the Discovery phase 1 of the funding, and reach52 will have the opportunity to apply for the Prototype phase 2 in 2021. This innovative research project builds on reach52’s existing digital health services in rural communities in South and South East Asia, including recent diagnostics pilot programs such as our ultrasound service for expectant mothers in rural Philippines with Philips.

reach52 is partnering with many leading organisations to expand access and implement new models in previously unreachable rural markets across South and South East Asia. If you’re interested in partnering, please just get in contact.

Contact details:

Ed Booty, Chief Executive Officer, reach52

Rich Bryson, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer,