Diagnostic imaging



WHO in collaboration with Ministries of Health of all Member States and Associate Members in February 2010 initiated and completed the Baseline Country Survey on Medical Devices by the end of November 2010. The Survey was then updated to capacity in 2014. Total of 144 Member countries responded to the questions.

View the Country Data here

The Second Global Forum on Medical Devices was held in Geneva, Switzerland, 22-24 November 2013. The Forum provided the global public health community a platform for information exchange and collaboration to increase access to high-quality, safe, and appropriate priority medical devices. This will impact the continuum of care ranging from screening to diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation under the Universal Health Coverage Strategy. The conference allowed end users and stakeholders from academia, international organizations, industry, and NGOs to share their experiences and challenges in providing access to medical devices.


  • To define methods of increasing access to priority medical devices under universal health coverage initiative.
  • To share evidence on best practices in health technology assessment, management and regulation of medical devices.
  • To demonstrate the development and use of appropriate and innovative technologies that respond to global health priorities.
  • To present the outcomes of the implementation of the World Health Assembly resolution on health technologies (WHA60.29) and the status of actions resulting from the First Global Forum on Medical Devices.

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 is being undertaken in cooperation with non-state actors who work with the WHO.
  • 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 the shortage of qualified staff, introduction of digital X-ray equipment suitable for areas with questionable infrastructure, and, where warranted, to explore possibilities for teleradiology solutions at affordable cost.
  • Organizing and hosting meetings with study and scientific groups, international professional organizations, defining ways of mutual cooperation and promoting best practices worldwide.

The Fiji School of Medicine Training Centre was established in 2003 by a shared sponsorship from the WHO, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) and the International Society of Radiographers and Radiologic Technologists (ISRRT). This training centre aimed to teach radiographers from South Pacific countries basic radiological interpretation of plain films.

  • 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, promote risk-benefit dialogue, and support the use of clinical imaging referral guidelines.

For more information please reference Radiation Protection of Patients

Contact information

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