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Closing Diagnostic Gap Requires Investments In Health Systems Strengthening

The Conversation: Health care is an essential human right — and so is a proper diagnosis
Madhukar Pai, director of global health and professor at McGill University

“…How can we deliver quality primary health care, if we can’t even diagnose common and priority conditions? And how can we detect and control outbreaks, if we don’t know what we are dealing with? This week, WHO took a huge step in addressing this diagnostic gap, by publishing its first Essential Diagnostics List (EDL), a list of the tests needed to diagnose the most common conditions as well as a number of global priority diseases. … While the WHO EDL is a welcome development, the list, by itself, will not have an impact. To see a meaningful impact, countries will need to adopt and adapt the WHO list, and develop their own national lists. … In addition to developing national EDLs, countries must invest in strengthening their laboratory networks. … Universal health coverage requires essential diagnostics, and diagnostics cannot be delivered without investments in health systems” (5/16).