Infectious diseases are a major global health issue. Diagnosis is a critical first step in effectively managing their spread. Paper-based microfluidic diagnostics first emerged in 2007 as a low-cost alternative to conventional laboratory testing, with the goal of improving accessibility to medical diagnostics in developing countries. In this review, we examine the advances in paper-based microfluidic diagnostics for medical diagnosis in the context of global health from 2007 to 2016. The theory of fluid transport in paper is first presented. The next section examines the strategies that have been employed to control fluid and analyte transport in paper-based assays. Tasks such as mixing, timing, and sequential fluid delivery have been achieved in paper and have enabled analytical capabilities comparable to those of conventional laboratory methods. The following section examines paper-based sample processing and analysis. The most impactful advancement here has been the translation of nucleic acid analysis to a paper-based format. Smartphone-based analysis is another exciting development with potential for wide dissemination. The last core section of the review highlights emerging health applications, such as male fertility testing and wearable diagnostics. We conclude the review with the future outlook, remaining challenges, and emerging opportunities.