UN launches diagnostic tool to identify diseases
Although correctly identifying disease is essential for successful treatment, many have no way of accessing an accurate diagnosis, the United Nation health agency said as it launched its new tool to close this critical gap.
“An accurate diagnosis is the first step to getting effective treatment,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO).
“No one should suffer or die because of a lack of diagnostic services, or because the right tests were not available,” he added.
WHO’s first “Essential Diagnostics List” — a catalogue of the tests needed to diagnose the most common conditions as well as numerous diseases deemed to be a “global priority” — concentrates on in vitro tests, such as blood samples or urine specimens.
The list contains more than 100 products involving 58 tests for detecting and diagnosing a wide range of common conditions, and providing an essential package for screening and managing patient care.
Other tests are designed to detect, diagnose and monitor “priority” diseases, such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis B and C, human papillomavirus and syphilis.
“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,” said Mariângela Simão, WHO Assistant Director-General for Access to Medicines, Vaccines and Pharmaceuticals.
“Our other goal is to signal to countries and developers that the tests in the list must be of good quality, safe and affordable,” she added.
For each test category, the list specifies the type of test, intended use, format and – if appropriate – for primary care or health facilities with laboratories.
The list also provides links to WHO Guidelines or publications and, when available, to prequalified products, as well as a reference point for countries to update or develop their own list of essential diagnostics.