The World Health Statistics 2012 report, released on 16 May 2012, includes good news about significant reductions in maternal and child deaths but puts the spotlight on the growing problem of the noncommunicable diseases burden.
WHO has also published a briefing paper on progress towards achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals.
Published annually by WHO, the World Health Statistics is the most comprehensive publication of health-related global statistics available. It contains data from 194 countries on a range of mortality, disease and health system indicators including life expectancy, illnesses and deaths from a range of diseases, health services and treatments, financial investment in health, as well as risk factors and behaviours that affect health. This year, it also includes highlight summaries on the topics of noncommunicable diseases, universal health coverage and civil registration coverage.
One in three adults worldwide, according to the report, has raised blood pressure – a condition that causes around half of all deaths from stroke and heart disease. One in 10 adults has diabetes.
“This report is further evidence of the dramatic increase in the conditions that trigger heart disease and other chronic illnesses, particularly in low- and middle-income countries,” says Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO. “In some African countries, as much as half the adult population has high blood pressure.”
Some key trends in this year’s report are:
Maternal mortality: In 20 years, the number of maternal deaths has decreased from more than 540,000 deaths in 1990 to less than 290,000 in 2010 – a decline of 47%. One third of these maternal deaths occur in just two countries – India with 20% of the global total and Nigeria with 14%.
10 year trends for causes of child death: Data from the years 2000 to 2010 show how public health advancements have helped save children’s lives in the past decade. The world has made significant progress, having reduced the number of child deaths from almost 10 million children aged less than 5 years in 2000 to 7.6 million annual deaths in 2010. Declines in numbers of deaths from diarrhoeal disease and measles have been particularly striking.
Death registration: Only 34 countries (representing 15% of the world’s population) produce high-quality cause-of-death data. In low and middle-income countries, less than 10% of deaths are registered.
Source: World Health Organisation
21 May 2012