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WHO introduces platform to boost access to medical technologies, devices

World Health Organisation (WHO) has introduced an online platform called MeDevIS (Medical Devices Information System), the first global open access clearing house for information on medical devices.

The organisation made this known in a statement on Monday.

The organisation stated that “the platform is designed to support governments, regulators and users in decision-making on selection, procurement and use of medical devices for diagnostics, testing and treatment of diseases and health conditions.”

According to the global body, the platform includes 2,301 types of medical devices used for broad-ranging health issues, including reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health.

Others, it added, are Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, as well as infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

It quoted Dr Yukiko Nakatani, the organisation’s Assistant Director-General for Access to Medicines and Health Products, as saying “the number of medical technologies used in healthcare is increasing.”

Nakatani said the increased technologies are complex, making it challenging for healthcare practitioners and patients to navigate.

She said “we aim to provide a one stop shop of international information, which can be invaluable for those making decisions on life-saving medical technologies, especially in resource-limited settings, and to improve access.”

She explained that there are more than 10,000 different medical devices used for protection, prevention, diagnostics, treatment or rehabilitation of health issues globally.

“These include multiple simple and complex medical technologies ranging from pulse oximeters, digital thermometers, single-use syringes and medical masks to various diagnostic laboratory tests.

“Other medical equipment including electrocardiograms, endoscopes, all imaging radiology technologies and technologies used for treatments such as hemodialysis units and defibrillators, implantable prothesis, cardiac stents and complex radiotherapy equipment.”

Nakatani said that currently, there are multiple, separate sources of information produced by major international organisations, regulatory bodies and donor agencies, making it difficult for users to discern and utilise the most reliable data.

“In MeDevIS, users can check devices they require, including type, level of health care systems to support the device (such as community or specialized hospitals), scope of the device, and infrastructure required, among other categories.

“MeDevIS replaces paper-based literature search across multiple publications with non-standard device names which can add to the complexity.

“However, the single platform, MedevIS, aims to make the naming of the medical devices simpler.”

According to her, MeDevIS references two international naming systems for medical devices — the European Medical Device Nomenclature (EMDN), mostly used in European countries for registration in the European database.

She said the other is the Global Medical Device Nomenclature (GMDN) used in regulatory agencies in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the U.S. and otherMember States.

Nakatani said that the naming systems include coding and definitions and can be used in every country to facilitate registration for regulatory approval, procurement and supply, inventories in health facilities, tracking and pricing.

Dr Deus Mubangizi, the WHO Director for Health Products Policy and Standards in the Access to Medicines and Health Products Division, said that the platform can be used for national policy-makers.

Mubangizi said that the platform would also be used to update national lists for procurement of health technologies and devices and can contribute to progress toward Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

“It can also help agencies in health insurance and reimbursement policies for patients,’’ he added.

According to him, this is the first time WHO has developed such a global repository on medical devices, based on its experience with the WHO Priority Medical Devices List (MDL).(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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