The PA Consulting Project
In 2018, World Health Organisation reported over 400 million lateral flow tests for malaria had been supplied globally: with 80% going to sub-Saharan Africa (World Health Organisation, 2020) . This equates to ca.2,000 tonnes of plastic waste from malaria diagnostics alone, and over three times for all disease groups. The use of lateral flow devices is also routine in low- and middle-income countries for the diagnosis of HIV and is expected to increase significantly for a range of other conditions, such as Dengue, Measles and Cholera. The COVID-19 pandemic has also contributed to several billion additional single-use diagnostic cassettes to what is already a significant environmental challenge. These single-use petrochemical-derived plastics end up in the environment, being land-filled, incinerated or litter. Due to their size, application, and the regions in which they are used, it is believed that very few, if any, are recycled. This causes environmental damage, harming marine animals/ecosystems and increasing microplastics.
The solution developed through this project is expected to lead to a reduction in plastic waste. Evidence of success will be collected after the 3 phases of this project, focusing on the amount of in-country plastic waste reduction. The material and end of life solutions of current testing kits mean there is a strong case underpinning the intervention.