Global Atlas of Medical Devices. (WHO Medical Device Technical Series)
(2017; 480 pages)


The Global Atlas of Medical Devices offers a new perspective on the global status of national medical device policies and the availability of medical device information, regulations, assessments, procurement and donation guidelines, as well as the density of high cost medical equipment and guidance documents available at country level.

Recognizing the important role of health technologies, in particular of medical devices, the World Health Assembly adopted resolution WHA60.29 in May 2007 and subsequent resolutions have been approved in the following years, related to the importance of medical devices regulations, evaluation and use as well as the medical devices required for essential interventions like surgery. The resolutions cover issues arising from the inappropriate deployment and use of health technologies, as well as the need to establish priorities in the selection, regulation, assessment and management of health technologies and specifically, medical devices. To determine the key areas of country or regional health technology programmes requiring support for development or improvement, the first Baseline Country Survey on Medical Devices was developed in 2009 and launched in February 2010 and was updated with a re-launch in November 2013. A total of 177 countries responded. In 2015, in response to resolution WHA67.23 on health interventions and technology assessment, WHO launched a global health technology assessment survey conducted by government or national institutes. Subsequently, in 2016, resolution WHA67.20 on the regulatory strengthening of medical products, including medical devices, led to a study analysing medical devices regulatory frameworks. The results of both the study and the global survey regarding medical devices have been included in this document.

For the purposes of this publication, the information collected by the surveys and studies has been processed into a comprehensive database that includes statistical analyses of more than 100 aspects related to medical devices evaluated with respect to welfare indicators such as World Bank income groups, health expenditure, Human Development Index and WHO regions. The results are displayed in regional tables, country profiles, diagrams, charts and maps reflecting the global status quo. The country profiles incorporate facts indicating the national status of medical devices in areas such as: policies, regulations, selection, inventories and lists of medical devices by health care facilities or by diseases, and also include nominated focal points in the ministries of health. The survey results reveal areas in which guidelines, documents and process policies are lacking and also serve as an important information archive to which Member States can refer and compare best practices. This information archive also provides a valuable basis for future studies.

The aim of this publication is to raise awareness and bring evidence of the indispensable safe and good use of appropriate, affordable and quality medical devices in health care delivery to achieve better health outcomes.

The WHO Essential Medicines and Health Products Information Portal was designed and is maintained by Human Info NGO. Last updated: December 1, 2019