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World Health Organization releases first-ever 'Essential Diagnostics List' to reduce premature deaths

17 May 2018

Health specialists say fundamental diagnostics are crucial to enhancing access to therapy and though the government has already been operating in the path to create diagnostic facilities available and accessible to all, the WHO's Essential Diagnostics List is very likely to function as a benchmark for states to upgrade or create their own collection of essential diagnostics.

An estimated 46 per cent of adults with Type 2 diabetes worldwide are undiagnosed, risking serious health complications and higher health costs, a statement by WHO said. "An accurate diagnosis is the first step to getting effective treatment", World Health Organization director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. Infectious diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis, if left undetected, increase the risk of spread and become more hard to treat. Health experts say essential diagnostics are key to improving access to treatment and while the government has been working in the direction to make diagnostic facilities accessible and available to all, the WHO's Essential Diagnostics List is likely to serve as a reference for countries to update or develop their own list of essential diagnostics. A lack of diagnostic services has left many people unable to get treated or incorrectly diagnosed. This list is dynamic and will be updated on a regular basis. The rest of 55 products focus on detecting, diagnosing and monitoring diseases like HIV, TBC, malaria, hepatitis B, C, HPV, and syphilis.

Lack of access to diagnostic services, or incorrect diagnoses from the wrong ones, are an obstacle to treatment or proper treatment. Of the 113 tests on the list, 58 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.

Some of the tests on the list are especially useful in healthcare settings where lab services are stretched or sometimes nonexistent. These tests do not require electricity or trained personnel.

What kind of medical tests does the Essential Diagnostics List include?

The WHO said it will support countries that need to adapt the list to local needs and resources.

The WHO's assistant director-general for access to medicines, vaccines, and pharmaceuticals, Mariangela Simao, said that the list is not only a tool to guide countries and developers, but it's also a signal to them that the tests on the list must be affordable, safe and of a high-quality.

Furthermore, WHO expects in the next years that the list will expand to also focus on antimicrobial resistance, emerging pathogens, neglected tropical diseases, or diseases that are not communicable.

World Health Organization releases first-ever 'Essential Diagnostics List' to reduce premature deaths