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WHO launches online platform for information on medical devices

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched the ‘Medical Devices Information System’ (MeDvlS), an online platform for information on medical devices.

WHO disclosed this on its website on Monday tagging it as “the first global open-access clearing house for information on medical devices.”

According to WHO, MeDvlS is designed to support informed decision-making for governments, regulators, and users when it comes to selecting, procuring, and utilising medical devices for diagnostics, testing, and treatment of diseases and health conditions.

It noted that the MeDevIS platform included 2,301 medical device types, covering a wide range of health issues, including reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health, noncommunicable diseases like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes, as well as infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

This is the first time WHO has developed such a global repository on medical devices.

More about MeDevIS

In her remarks, the WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Access to Medicines and Health Products, Yukiko Nakatani, said medical technologies are increasingly complex and numerous.

Yukiko Nakatani PHOTO CREDIT @World Health Organization (WHO)

“The number of medical technologies used in health care is growing, as is their complexity, which can make it challenging for health care practitioners and patients to navigate,” Ms Nakatani was quoted to have said.

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“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.”

WHO further highlighted that there are over 10,000 different medical devices that are being 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 and 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,” it noted.

It, however, said the current landscape of medical device information is fragmented, with various international organisations, regulatory bodies, and donor agencies providing separate sources of information, making it challenging for users to access reliable data.

It added that MeDevIS addresses this issue by providing a centralised platform where users can easily access and filter device information by type, healthcare system level (community or specialised hospitals), scope, infrastructure requirements, and more.


WHO further explained that MeDevIS streamlines the search process by consolidating medical device information into a single platform, eliminating the need for tedious paper-based searches across multiple publications with varying device names, and also aims to standardise device naming for easier identification and navigation.

The global body said MeDevIS utilises two international naming systems for medical devices: European Medical Device Nomenclature ( EMDN) and Global Medical Device Nomenclature (GMDN).

It added that the systems provide standardised coding and definitions, facilitating registration, regulatory approval, procurement, and supply chain management in various countries.

WHO’s Director for Health Products Policy and Standards in the Access to Medicines and Health Products Division, Deus Mubangizi, also noted that MeDevIS aids policy-makers in procuring health technologies, promoting universal health coverage.

Beryl TV headshot-4 WHO launches online platform for information on medical devices Health
Deusdedit Mubangizi PHOTO CREDIT @
Fair Pricing Forum

“The MeDevIS platform can be useful for national policy-makers to develop or update their national lists for procurement of health technologies and devices and can contribute to the progress towards universal health coverage,” Mr Mubangizi was quoted.

“It can also help agencies in health insurance and reimbursement policies for patients.”

WHO however noted that it will continually enhance the platform by collaborating with stakeholders and partners “to expand its coverage to additional technologies and devices used in various health areas, including pandemic and emergency settings.”

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