In developing countries, deaths from chronic diseases, almost half of which are from heart disease, are forecast to increase by a third in less than a decade. Luckily, chronic diseases are mostly preventable [i]. Efforts in cardiovascular health promotion and CVD prevention, treatment, and control in both men and women are warranted. Community and rural medical outreaches for screening and treatment of hypertension and diabetes mellitus, as well as education on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke risk reduction, are fundamental aspects of SSI health programs.
Despite progress since 2014, the majority of people living with HCV worldwide are still not diagnosed and therefore remain untreated. Globally, only about one in five people living with HCV in 2016 had been diagnosed. In low-income countries, less than 10% of people infected with HCV had been diagnosed, compared with over 40% in high-income countries [i]. Diagnostic services need to reach much larger numbers of people living with HBV and HBC. The cost of HCV testing continues to be a hurdle, not least because it often involves out-of-pocket payment. Affordable, one-step, point-of-care testing would make it possible to identify much larger numbers of people in need of treatment [ii].
SSI plans to establish a medical laboratory with capacity to provide tertiary laboratory services in virology and molecular diagnostics. This will be primarily to provide laboratory services to participants in the program a free or highly subsidized screening and treatment programs for chronic diseases - Hepatitis B and C; cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes mellitus. It will also be of valuable service to the community by providing high quality, affordable much needed laboratory services. The overarching goal is to increase access to diagnostic services that can only be obtained at exorbitant prices or not easily available due to geographical limitations of few centers with such capabilities. The laboratory will be a specialized center for research and training in diagnostics in tropical medicine as well as clinical and population research.