With Proper Investments, WHO’s Essential Diagnostics List Could Help Strengthen Health Systems Globally

The Lancet: Essential diagnostics: a lever for health systems reform?
Editorial Board

“…Timely and accurate diagnosis is fundamental to achieving quality patient-centered care and has myriad benefits beyond individuals including enabling rapid detection of disease outbreaks and reducing the inappropriate use of antibiotics. WHO will update [its Essential Diagnostics List (EDL)] annually, with plans to broaden its remit to include tests for addressing neglected tropical diseases, antimicrobial resistance, and the specific requirements of disease outbreak and emergency settings, among other areas. … Whether the Essential Diagnostics List will contribute to the health systems capacity building required for universal health coverage and other health-related Sustainable Development Goals will depend, crucially, on integrating its application and adaptation to local contexts with rigorous evaluation efforts. Without investment in health systems research alongside attempts to achieve delivery of this essential package, the opportunity to make comprehensive progress in improving diagnostic services around the world may well be squandered” (5/26).

Forbes: How The WHO’s Essential Diagnostics List Will Help The U.S.
Judy Stone, infectious disease specialist and author

“…The EDL should be an important aid for rural hospitals and for hospitals in developing countries, in particular. … The essential diagnostic test recommendations are tailored to the specific needs of the local population. … The need for accurate essential diagnostic tests and medicines is not just for developing countries. … The essential diagnostic list is tiered to different levels of care, with some tests targeted to offices and others to hospitals or better-equipped centers. Hopefully, as with the essential medicines list, this WHO list will have a wide-ranging impact on improving care globally” (5/31).