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Investments

PATH

  • LocationsMalawi, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan
  • SectorHealth
  • Type of investmentGrant
  • Project stageTest & Transition

The Global Innovation Fund is partnering with PATH, a non-profit organisation working to develop and scale solutions to solve the world’s most pressing health challenges, as they lead a series of research pilots in Malawi, Pakistan, Nepal and Indonesia to monitor the presence of COVID-19 in low-income populations and share that valuable data to inform governmental response plans.

PATH

The development problem.

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a severe threat to public health and has placed immense pressure on national health systems in both developed and developing countries. Robust disease surveillance systems are critical for the prevention and control of infectious disease. However, developing countries with under-functioning health systems and limited capacity to test and trace COVID-19 on a large-scale face significant challenges with preventing and controlling outbreaks. Controlling outbreaks is particularly important in these settings, as resource constraints exacerbate challenges with treating COVID-19 patients who require specialized treatment. While recent studies have shown the potential of Environmental Surveillance, or ES, to complement clinical testing and help detect the presence of infectious disease in populations, it has not yet been widely applied in developing country contexts.

The innovation.

PATH will lead a research project to develop and adapt Environmental Surveillance methods to low-income contexts for monitoring the circulation of the COVID-19 virus in populations and provide government decision makers with valuable information about infection trends to help inform public health interventions.

GIF's investment.

PATH will use GIF funding to:
Launch field research pilots across [3/4] countries to collect environmental samples from wastewater; create a Data Center to house and analyse field data and standardize ES methods for COVID-19 for dissemination to the research community and public health authorities; establish a Technical Assistance Committee bringing together experts in ES, epidemiology, and virology; build a Community of Practice to facilitate sharing of best practices; and conduct a cost-effectiveness study.

Investment objective(s).

This environmental surveillance (of sewage systems and impacted surface waters) project will include data collection from five field deployments in Africa and the Indo Pacific and a dedicated center for curation and pooling of the data to support national and global COVID-19 monitoring and management plans.


Why we invested

This innovation seeks to address a major global crisis affecting people worldwide including millions of people living on below $5 a day. PATH will help develop ES approaches suitable for low-resource contexts and generate valuable data that can inform COVID-19 response planning to reduce the burden of disease and save lives in low-income countries. This investment will also surface important implementation lessons and help fill an existing evidence gap concerning the cost effectiveness of deploying ES, which can drive uptake by public health authorities as part of their COVID-19 monitoring and management plans. We also take a broader view that this ES innovation may have applicability if new pandemics emerge in the longer term.

Click here to read PATH’s Impact Brief.

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