ICMR starts revising current National Essential Diagnostics List for first time

The list contains the minimum diagnostic tests that should be available at healthcare facilities; ICMR asks stakeholders to submit suggestions on addition, deletion of tests by the end of February

January 16, 2024 07:10 pm | Updated January 17, 2024 12:49 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The Indian Council of Medical Research. Photo: icmr.gov.in

The Indian Council of Medical Research. Photo: icmr.gov.in

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has begun the process of revising the current National Essential Diagnostics List (NEDL), saying that considerable time has passed since the first such list was released in 2019. The Council has invited relevant stakeholders to offer suggestions on adding or deleting diagnostic tests to the current list by the end of February. 

The NEDL lists the essential and most basic tests that should be available at various levels of healthcare facilities in the country, including at the village level, in sub-health centres, health and wellness centres, and primary health centres.

In 2018, the World Health Organisation had recommended the development and implementation of an NEDL to facilitate the availability of in-vitro diagnostics across the various tiers of the healthcare pyramid, in facilities with or without an onsite laboratory. ICMR then released India’s first NEDL in 2019 to make the availability of diagnostics an essential component of the healthcare system.

Focus on public health needs

“The inclusion of diagnostic tests in the NEDL was based on careful consideration of the disease burden data across different States of India, alignment with national programs and adherence to Indian public health standards. The required manpower, infrastructure and logistical support required at each health facility to carry out the tests were also recommended,” the Council noted.

ICMR has now asked stakeholders to consider factors such as how essential a test is, the disease burden, and the alignment with Indian public health standards before proposing any additional tests to the existing list. It defined essential diagnostic tests as those that satisfy the priority health care needs of the population and are selected with due regard to disease prevalence and public health relevance, evidence of efficacy and accuracy, and comparative cost-effectiveness.

The Council added that the test should focus on conditions with a high disease burden or having significant public health relevance, where the introduction of a diagnostic test will have a clear impact on disease diagnosis and management. It should have a documented use and necessity at the level for which it is suggested, and any proposed addition should align with the availability of equipment, infrastructure and manpower, as per the Indian Public Health Standards, 2022.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.