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Table 2 The WHO criteria help to distinguish between population-based screening and opportunistic case-finding

From: Screening for foot problems in children: is this practice justifiable?

WHO Principles of Early Disease Detection
Condition
· The condition should be an important health problem.
· There should be a recognisable latent or early symptomatic stage.
· The natural history of the condition, including development from latent to declared disease should be adequately understood.
Test
· There should be a suitable test or examination.
· The test should be acceptable to the population.
Treatment
· There should be an accepted treatment for patients with recognised disease
Screening Program
· There should be an agreed policy on whom to treat as patients.
· Facilities for diagnosis and treatment should be available.
· The cost of case-findings (including diagnosis and treatment of patients diagnosed) should be economically balanced in relation to possible expenditure on medical care as a whole.
· Case-findings should be a continuing process and not a ‘once and for all’ project.
  1. Reproduced from: Principles and practice of screening for disease, WHO, 1968.