Evolving with the times, WHO makes significant changes in ICD-11

International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), published by WHO, for the first time classified gaming as a mental health disorder ; has made a new chapter on sexual health; and also added a new chapter on traditional medicine.The ICD is the foundation for identifying health trends and statistics worldwide. It contains around 55,000 unique codes for injuries, diseases and causes of death

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  • International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), published by WHO, which classifies around 55,000 unique codes for injuries, has for the first time classified gaming as a disorder; has made a new chapter on sexual health; and also added a new chapter on traditional medicine.
  • It provides a common set of information that allows health professionals to share health information across the globe.
  • ICD – 11 will be adopted by Member States in May 2019 and will come into effect on January 1, 2022.

Gaming disorder as mental health condition:

When more than 2 billion people play game worldwide, WHO reports it is just 2% of the people that is affected by gaming disorders. One is supposed to be suffering from gaming disorder, when playing games overtakes other desires, and that it continues or escalates despite negative consequences.

WHO says that such type of behaviour should last for more than 12 months in order to categories a person suffering from the same.

In one of the statement given by WHO, which justifies addiction of gaming as one of the disorders, it was mentioned, “The inclusion of gaming disorder in ICD-11 follows the development of treatment programme for people with health conditions identical to those characteristic of gaming disorder in many parts of the world, and will result in the increased attention of health professionals to the risks of development of this disorder and, accordingly, to relevant prevention and treatment measures.”

Experts say that mentioning this would pave the way for developing countries like India to plan strategies for the same. Once this disorder is taken into account by WHO countries will be guided to plan and monitor for the same.

Addition of chapter on traditional medicine:

This means that availing treatment under traditional medicine; one would be eligible for insurance cover under the treatment, as insurance reimbursements are also based on ICD coding. This would be a huge advantage for countries like India which has a big healthcare industry giving traditional health care services to millions in the world.

Experts say that this would also mean, coding the knowledge repository that India has on traditional medicine.

A new chapter on sexual health will drop ‘transgender’ from mental illness category:

Till now, the transgender were classified under mental illness category by the WHO. But this year, it made a huge change as ‘transgender’ will no longer be gender incongruence, as treated under mental illness. It is now moved under category of sexual health.

Experts from India welcomed the move and said that it will benefit healthcare professions to study and treat sexual problems of transgender which have remained unaddressed till now.