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Geneva/Ottawa, May 16 (Canadian-Media): WHO published its first list of essential diagnostic tests May 15 to solve the prevalence of late or incorrect diagnoses and to globally improve treatment outcomes.
World Health Organization. Image credit: Twitter handle
“An accurate diagnosis is the first step to getting effective treatment,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general for WHO, said in a press release.
According to the release, WHO created the Essential Diagnostic List as a reference for countries to create personalized indexes of vital tests — similar to the Essential Medicines List WHO initially released in 1977.
As with the Essential Medicines List, WHO said it will regularly update the Essential Diagnostics List and will eventually expand it to include diagnostics that screen for antimicrobial resistance, emerging pathogens, neglected tropical diseases, and other noncommunicable diseases.
Patients not diagnosed quickly or correctly end up in developing infectious diseases leading to outbreaks; patients with with undiagnosed chronic diseases suffer health complications with their increased costs for treatment.
The list was reviewed by WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on In Vitro Diagnostics, according to the release.
It was also created by WHO through extensive internal and external consultation.
The Essential Diagnostics List comprises 113 products and focuses on in vitro tests of human specimens, such as blood and urine.
The list gives clear instructions whether a diagnostic test can be used in a primary health care setting or if it must be handled by a larger health facility with a lab.
The list also specifies each diagnostic by test type, intended use and format.
Furthermore, a wide range of common conditions can be screened by 58 of these tests and 55 in the list screen for “priority” diseases, including HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis B and C, HPV and syphilis.
Some of the tests which do not require electricity or trained personnel, such as those that screen for diabetes or acute malaria in children, can be performed anywhere.
“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,” Mariângela Simão, MD, WHO assistant director-general for access to medicines, vaccines and pharmaceuticals, said in the release.
“Our other goal is to signal to countries and developers that the tests in the list must be of good quality, safe and affordable," said Marley Ghizzone.