The World Health Organisation on Tuesday released a list of essential diagnostic tests in a bid to prevent incorrect diagnosis. The catalogue, which will be updated on a regular basis, aims to diagnose common conditions as well as a number of global priority diseases.

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

The database includes 113 tests with a focus on in vitro testing (tests of human specimens like blood and urine). The list specifies 58 tests for the detection and diagnosis of a wide range of common conditions and 55 tests for the “detection, diagnosis and monitoring of priority diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus, tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis B and C, human papillomavirus and syphilis”.

WHO Assistant Director-General for Access to Medicines, Vaccines and Pharmaceuticals Mariângela Simão said: “Our other goal is to signal to countries and developers that the tests in the list must be of good quality, safe and affordable.”

The catalogue was created as a reference for governments to update or develop their own list of essential diagnostics, the organisation said.