WHO Issues First-Ever List Of Essential Diagnostic Tests

The World Health Organization today published its first Essential Diagnostics List, which identifies the most-needed tests for conditions and diseases.

“For each category of test, the Essential Diagnostics List specifies the type of test and intended use, format, and if appropriate for primary health care or for health facilities with laboratories,” WHO said in a release. “The list also provides links to WHO Guidelines or publications and, when available, to prequalified products.”

“Similar to the WHO Essential Medicines List, which has been in use for four decades, the Essential Diagnostics List is intended to serve as a reference for countries to update or develop their own list of essential diagnostics,” it said. “In order to truly benefit patients, national governments will need to ensure appropriate and quality-assured supplies, training of health care workers and safe use. To that end, WHO will provide support to countries as they adapt the list to the local context.”

“Our aim is to provide a tool that can be useful to all countries, to test and treat better, but also to use health funds more efficiently by concentrating on the truly essential tests,” says Mariângela Simão, WHO Assistant Director-General for Access to Medicines, Vaccines and Pharmaceuticals.

WHO gave an example that “an estimated 46% of adults with Type 2 diabetes worldwide are undiagnosed, risking serious health complications and higher health costs. Late diagnosis of infectious diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis increases the risk of spread and makes them more difficult to treat.”

WHO said: “The list focuses on in vitro tests – i.e. tests of human specimens like blood and urine. It contains 113 products: 58 tests are listed for detection and diagnosis of a wide range of common conditions, providing an essential package that can form the basis for screening and management of patients.  The remaining 55 tests are designed for the detection, diagnosis and monitoring of ‘priority’ diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis B and C, human papillomavirus and syphilis.”

The WHO press release is available here.

WHO also provided a link to its work on diagnostics: http://www.who.int/medical_devices/diagnostics/Selection_in-vitro_diagnostics/en/

 

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