Posted 16 June 2017
By Zachary Brennan
The World Health Organization (WHO) has received a recommendation from an expert committee to develop an Essential Diagnostics List (EDL).
The committee said the decision to begin developing such a list, agreed to earlier this month, may initially focus on in vitro diagnostics, with initial proposed priority areas including tuberculosis, malaria, HIV and hepatitis B and C.
According to WHO, the list "should expand to other areas including other antimicrobials and non-communicable diseases as soon as possible."
As a first step, WHO is creating a Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on In Vitro Diagnostics (SAGE IVD), which will advise on policies and the development of the list.
Like its Essential Medicines List, WHO says the EDL is intended to provide countries with evidence-based guidance to create their own national lists of essential diagnostic tests and tools.
"National essential medicines lists have been successful in facilitating access to treatment and promoting affordable prices, particularly in low-resourced countries, by prioritizing the most important medicines all countries need to make available to their populations. It is expected that national essential diagnostics lists will provide the same benefits for diagnostic tests," WHO said.
The Global Health Technologies Coalition welcomed what it called "a landmark decision" to guide governments on the vital diagnostic tools that should be made available through healthcare systems.