Think Globally, Act Locally

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It’s a phrase we’ve all heard a million times, but I found it interesting in the context of today’s panel discussion on diagnostic testing for the developing world.

Dr. Jan Gheuens from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation made the comment “The research may be global but the delivery is local.” And when you think about it, it’s so true. While the need for testing tools that are portable and easy to use as well as sensitive and accurate is pretty universal across the developing world, each community is different. The same test that works in an urban center might not be practical for a small village that only has power a few hours a week. And the needs of the people in India aren’t the same as those of communities in Russia or Brazil. It’s clearly not a one-size-fits-all situation. (Actually, when was the last time anything with that claim really fit anyone at all?)

The good news is, after listening to the panel this morning, it sounds like more and more organizations are tackling global health by going local to understand what will and won’t work for each area. Way better than anything any of us ever found that claimed to be one-size-fits-all.