Point-of-care diagnostic devices for poverty-related diseases are widely recognised as critical to meeting global health priorities. Until recently laboratory infrastructures in many low and middle-income countries were limited to urban centres, and frontline health workers in rural health facilities depended on paper-based algorithms or clinical judgement to make treatment decisions. Today, a new generation of rapid and portable devices that detect the presence of pathogens and biomarkers in a drop of blood, sweat or urine, promise to extend this laboratory infrastructure far beyond the hospital laboratory and make universal access to accurate diagnostics possible.

The DiaDev project, Investigating the Design and Use of Diagnostic Devices in Global Health, explores the emergent role that diagnostic devices are playing in the transformation of global health partnerships and national health systems in low and middle-income countries. Drawing on novel conceptual and methodological tools from social anthropology, it investigates the social, cultural and technical processes involved in developing, deploying and using diagnostic devices in resource-limited settings. The goal is to improve our understanding of relationships between technological innovation and health systems strengthening, with a view to guiding global health policy.

For more information contact the Principal Investigator, Dr Alice Street: alice.street@ed.ac.uk