The federal government, supported by the World Health Organisation, has launched the national essential diagnostics list (NEDL).
Speaking on Monday at the unveiling of the list in Abuja, Osagie Ehanire, minister of health, said the list is part of efforts to improve in-country diagnostic capacity, and to ensure that Nigerians can access diagnostics services.
He said following the development of the essential medicines list (EML), the WHO developed the essential diagnostics list (EDL) to provide evidence-based guidance to countries to create their 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 resource countries, by prioritising the most important medicines all countries need to make available to their populations,” he said.
“Similarly, the EDL is anticipated to improve patient care, in-country diagnostic capacity, affordability of tests, regulation and quality of diagnostic tests, and capabilities of national laboratories.”
Ehanire said Nigeria is the first country to develop its essential diagnostics list in Africa and second in the world, following India.
“This shows greatly the interest of this government in the improvement of health indices for the country,” he said.
“This first edition of the national essential diagnostics list (NEDL) is a guidance document needed to prioritise critical health in-vitro diagnostics (IVDs) based on wide availability and affordability through the national health system. It will support the selection, procurement, supply, donations or provision of IVDs.
“To ensure nationwide implementation of this important document, we have also ensured the approval of this guidance document at the emergency meeting of the national council on health. By this, all states in the federation are encouraged to implement the use the document.
“The NEDL enlists 145 diagnostic test categories, comprising 65 general IVDsto aid the diagnosis of a range of disease conditions, 73 disease specific IVDs in clinical settings covering primary, secondary, tertiary and national reference laboratories, and seven IVDs for screening of blood donations.
“It also includes 12 general IVDs and 15 disease-specific IVDs for use in community and health settings without laboratories.”