Add Resources - Scaling Up & Sustainability

Project of COVID-19 active case finding using antigen rapid diagnostic tests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The rollout in Africa of new World Health Organization (WHO)-approved SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen test (Ag-RDTs) has significantly increased screening capacity in some African countries, like Zimbabwe and Rwanda, marking a real turning point in the fight against COVID-19 in the Africa region. Although the DRC is considered a pioneer in scaling up the use of Ag-RDTs through health facility and community-based COVID-19 active case finding, testing capacity remains very low, with a current average of 1.5 tests carried out per 10,000 population per week, against a standard of at least 10 tests per 10,000 per week. 

Given this low screening capacity, it is clear that there is under-reporting of COVID-19 cases. According to WHO AFRO estimates, only 1 in 7 cases would be detected in DRC. In an attempt to improve the case detection rate, the Ministry of Health, with the technical and financial support from the WHO DRC country office, has implemented since January 2021 an innovative pilot project for active case finding of COVID-19 using Ag-RDT screening in the community and in health facilities. This project is currently operational in 37 active health zones in 8 of the most affected provinces. 

This report presents the cumulative results obtained, lessons learned, challenges, and future prospects after 9 months of implementation (January to September 2021) of the activities of this pilot strategy of active COVID-19 case findings in the DRC community using Ag-RDTs. This report marks the official end of the GAVI (Phase I) and FIND (Phase II) funding. 

Featured Work - Awareness & Advocacy

FIND and Unitaid invest US$2 million to support advocacy for COVID-19 test-and-treat approaches in low- and middle-income countries

FIND, the global alliance for diagnostics and Unitaid are investing US$2 million in a coordinated advocacy programme spanning 19 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) designed to boost access and uptake of COVID-19 tests and treatments. A total of 21 organizations with a diverse range of healthcare expertise have been selected from more than 300 applicants, following a request for proposals (RFP) and competitive selection process that included assessment by a panel of independent reviewers. Criteria for funding included previous public health advocacy experience and expected impact of test-and-treat advocacy in the targeted region.

Projects range in duration from 6 to 18 months, and will raise awareness of COVID-19 testing and treatment among the public, key opinion leaders, and specific high-risk and vulnerable groups. Partners include (listed alphabetically by country): Mhair Educational, Health and Human Rights Organization (Afghanistan), Family Planning Association of Bangladesh (Bangladesh), IMAG Communication (Burkina Faso), Maison des Associations de lutte contre le Sida (Burkina Faso), Health Poverty Action Cambodia (Cambodia), Caritas Développement Mbujimayi (Democratic Republic of the Congo), TB Alert India (India), Pi Consulting (India), Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium (Kenya), Health Poverty Action Laos (Laos), Caritas Lesotho (Lesotho), ESTAMOS (Mozambique), REDTRANS (Nicaragua), Shifa Foundation (Pakistan), Media for Deaf Rwanda (Rwanda), South Sudan Community Change Agency (South Sudan), Sikika (Tanzania), Université Mahmoud El Materi (Tunisia), HEPS (Uganda), Zambia Interfaith Working Group (Zambia), Pan-African Treatment Access Movement (Zimbabwe).