Rosanna Peeling

Dr. Peeling is Professor and Chair of Diagnostics Research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). Trained as a medical microbiologist, Dr. Peeling was the Research Coordinator and Head of Diagnostics Research at the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme on Research & Training in Tropical Diseases (WHO/TDR) in Geneva, Switzerland, and the co-director of the National Laboratory for Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Canada before assuming her current position. Her work in WHO/TDR focused on setting international standards for the evaluation of diagnostics to inform policy and procurement decisions. Dr Peeling has established an International Diagnostics Centre at LSHTM to provide a global hub for advocating the value of diagnostics and for fostering innovative research, development, evaluation and deployment of accessible quality-assured diagnostics to improve global health. Dr. Peeling has a strong interest in ethical issues associated with conducting research in developing countries and was appointed the Chair of the WHO Research Ethics Review Committee 2004-6. She is a member of many international advisory panels and editorial boards. She was the recipient of a YM-YWCA Women of Distinction Award, a 5NR Award for Canadian Leaders of Sustainable Development. Her research was featured in a Discovery Channel documentary on Chlamydia infection and infertility, and in Fighting Syphilis, a documentary in the highly acclaimed BBC Kill or Cure series.

Imagine walking for most of the day to get to the health center nearest your community, carrying your young child who is very ill. When you arrive, the doctor takes a sample from your child to perform a diagnostic test. You then learn that it will take a month or more to receive the results, as only a specialised laboratory can perform the necessary test to obtain a diagnosis. This sort of unnecessary delay can be the difference between life and death. It is still, nevertheless, the reality in many countries, especially in limited resource settings where diagnostic testing is centralised, and most patients live far from testing sites.