Diagnostic imaging



WHO in collaboration with Ministries of Health of all Member States and Associate Members in February 2010 initiated and completed Baseline Country Survey on Medical Devices by the end of November 2010. Total of 144 Member countries responded to the questions.

The Questionnaire for the Baseline Country Survey on Medical devices has five sections: National policy on health technology, Regulation of medical Devices, Medical device incorporation, Medical equipment management services and Medical Equipment and National Healthcare Infrastructure. Objectives of the survey was not only to get the information from the participating countries and to share knowledge and experience but also to use this data to define the most important areas for technology development in limited resource areas.

In relation to this, the First WHO Global Forum on Medical Devices, was held in Bangkok, Thailand, 9-11 September 2010. The Forum identified actions that can be taken to improve availability, accessibility, appropriate selection, assessment, regulation, management, and safe use of medical devices in line with the World Health Assembly resolution (WHO60.29) on health technologies. Furthermore; the Forum suggested the best practice for available resources and formed a network of professionals from different areas that could continue to support and explore the role of medical devices in health care systems.

Other Activities

  • Upon requests from Member States, collaboration in establishing local, national and/or regional, training programs focusing mainly on quality control measurements, maintenance of equipment, performing basic examinations, and interpreting imaging findings.
  • Collaboration with the scientific community, external experts, WHO Collaborating Centres, NGOs and manufacturers of imaging equipment, towards technical solutions for improved diagnostic imaging services in remote locations. Main objectives are to overcome shortage of qualified staff, introduction of digital X-ray equipment suitable for areas with questionable infrastructure, and to explore possibilities for teleradiology solutions at affordable cost.
  • Organizing and hosting meeting with study and scientific groups, international professional organizations, defining ways of mutual cooperation and enabling dissemination of good practice world wide.
  • Joint Global Initiative on Radiation Safety in Health Care Settings. Exposure to radiation is being increased due to performing more medical procedures associated with ionizing radiation mostly due to higher utilization of computed tomography, interventional procedures and nuclear medicine. Absorption of high-energy ionizing radiation in a human body could lead to jeopardizing effect and potential health risk which is different for each type of exposure. In order to maximize benefits from the procedure and minimize health risks, WHO has launched the Global Initiative on Radiation Safety in Health Care Settings to mobilize the health sector for safe use of radiation in medicine. This action is complementary to International Action Plan for the Radiological Protection of Patients established by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 2002. Apart from promoting safe application of radiation in medicine, one of the aims is to prevent population from unnecessary medical radiation exposure.
  • Global Steering Group for Education and Training in Diagnostic Imaging was established in 1999 with main objective to coordinate various training activities organized by international and regional societies, and join forces in order to improve quality, quantity, and equity of diagnostic imaging services worldwide, but with strong emphasis on countries in most need. Members of the Global Steering Group for Education and Training in Diagnostic Imaging are professional societies on permanent and temporary base.

Contact information

World Health Organization
Medical Devices
20 Avenue Appia
1211, Geneva 27
Email: medicaldevices@who.int