Globally, both communicable and non-communicable diseases pose a serious threat to populations in developed as well as developing countries. Access to reliable diagnostic testing along with qualified health practitioners is severely limited in low resource and very remote areas and following natural catastrophes. Areas covered: This paper provides an overview of the challenges involved and suggests strategies to address them. The emergence of more robust, user-friendly, cost-effective and 'sample-to-result' point-of-care (POC) tools, along with the proliferation of mobile technologies, may provide a practical approach in addressing some of the challenges. Expert commentary: The successful implementation of POC testing requires the availability of versatile diagnostic technologies, improved platforms and back-up infrastructure, successful leveraging of human resources through training and, finally, engagement/coordination of associated stakeholders, including public health agencies, diagnostics companies, healthcare practitioners and local rural authorities.
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