Diagnostic imaging

WHO Goals

Given the diversity of medical imaging equipment, it is important to ensure maximum quality control. Furthermore, in order to deliver effective service, educated and trained staff should be available not only to provide the imaging service but also to maintain the equipment. Moreover, a patient-centred approach is warranted, wherein procedures are explained to patients and/or caregivers, and their questions addressed in a due manner. According to the WHO priorities, equity in public health depends on access to essential, high-quality and affordable medical technologies. Improving access to medical products is central to the achievement of Universal Health Coverage. The WHO will continue to improve access to safe, quality, affordable and effective technologies and medicines. The WHO will support innovation for affordable health technologies, local production, and national regulatory authorities.

Furthermore, WHO work promotes Output 4.3.1: Countries enabled to develop or update, implement, monitor and evaluate national policies on better access to health technologies; and to strengthen evidence-based selection and rational use of health technologies. Diagnostic imaging equipment falls within this purview.

As part of a global response to markedly increasing global use of ionizing radiation for medical imaging in recent decades, the Bonn-Call-for-Action Conference was convened in December 2012. It was organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and co-sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) with the theme Radiation Protection in Medicine: Setting the Scene for the Next Decade. 536 participants and observers from 77 countries and 16 organizations partook, and an important outcome was identification of responsibilities and a proposal for priorities for stakeholders regarding radiation protection in medicine for the next decade.

The resultant Bonn Call-for-Action highlights 10 main actions which have spawned many subset global initiatives:

  • Enhance the implementation of the principle of justification
  • Enhance the implementation of the principle of optimization of protection and safety
  • Strengthen manufacturers role in contributing to the overall safety regime
  • Strengthen radiation protection education and training of health professionals
  • Shape and promote a strategic research agenda for radiation protection in medicine
  • Increase availability of improved global information on medical exposures and occupational exposures in medicine
  • Improve prevention of medical radiation incidents and accidents
  • Strengthen radiation safety culture in health care
  • Foster an improved radiation benefit-risk-dialogue
  • Strengthen the implementation of safety requirements globally

Medical imaging services should be developed as an integral part of national health care systems and be tailored according to country, region, or area needs and socioeconomic considerations.