Medical devices

Priority medical devices for management
of cardiac diseases, stroke, and diabetes


Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)—mainly cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes—are the world’s biggest killers. More than 36 million people die annually from NCDs (63% of global deaths), including more than 14 million people who die too young between the ages of 30 and 70. Low- and middle-income countries already bear 86% of the burden of these premature deaths, resulting in cumulative economic losses of US$7 trillion over the next 15 years and millions of people trapped in poverty.

To strengthen national efforts to address the burden of NCDs, the World Health Assembly endorsed the WHO Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013-2020 in May 2013[1]. The Global Action Plan provides Member States, international partners and WHO with a road map and menu of policy options which, when implemented collectively between 2013 and 2020, will contribute to progress on 9 global NCD targets to be attained in 2025. One of these nine targets specifically addresses the issue of access to medical technologies and aims at an increase up to “an 80% availability of the affordable basic technologies and essential medicines, including generics, required to treat major noncommunicable diseases in both public and private facilities“.

Project objectives

The delivery of health care services, today more than ever, has a close relationship with the use of health technologies. The development and incorporation of these technologies have enabled effective access to quality care and improved capacity to screen, diagnose, treat, rehabilitate and palliate diseases. However, deaths occur as a result of lack of accessible, affordable, and available technologies, as well as specialized human resources.

The Priority Medical Device project, convened by World Health Organization (WHO), has the purpose of improving global access to medical devices. The project aims to produce a list of priority medical devices needed for the management of high-burden diseases at a given health care level and in a given context.

[1]Global Action Plan for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases