WHO publishes its 'first essential diagnostics' list

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has published its first 'essential diagnostics list', a catalogue of tests needed to diagnose the most common conditions as well as a number of global priority diseases.

The step was taken to address the problem of people's inability to access diagnostic services, thus failing to receive the correct treatment.

"An accurate diagnosis is the first step to getting effective treatment. No one should suffer or die because of lack of diagnostic services, or because the right tests were not available, said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

An estimated 46 per cent of adults with Type 2 diabetes worldwide were undiagnosed, risking serious health complications and higher health costs, said a statement by the world health body.

Late diagnosis of infectious diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis increases the risk of their spread and makes them more difficult to treat, it said.

The essential diagnostics list concentrates on in-vitro tests like tests of blood and urine. Apart from this, 58 tests are listed for detection and diagnosis of a wide range of common conditions, thus 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 statement said.

Some of the tests are particularly suitable for primary health care facilities, where laboratory services are often poorly resourced and sometimes non-existent.

(Agencies)