State Of The World's Health, WHO Releases The Global Burden Of Disease Study
News Oct 28, 2008
Drawing from extensive data across the Organization, it features comparisons between deaths, diseases and injuries whether by region, age, sex or country income for the year 2004. It also provides projections of deaths and burden of disease by cause and region to the year 2030.
The study contains details of the top ten causes of death and estimates for over 130 disease and injury causes. Striking findings include:
- Worldwide, Africa accounts for 9 out of every 10 child deaths due to malaria, for 9 out of every 10 child deaths due to HIV/AIDS, and for half of the world's child deaths due to diarrhoeal disease and pneumonia.
- The top five causes of death in low- income countries are: pneumonia, heart disease, diarrhoea, HIV/AIDS and stroke. In high- income countries the list is topped by heart disease, followed by stroke, lung cancer, pneumonia, and asthma/bronchitis.
- Men between the ages of 15 and 60 years have much higher risks of dying than women in the same age category in every region of the world. This is mainly due to higher levels of heart diseases and injuries, including those from violence and conflict. This difference is most pronounced in Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle -East and the Eastern European region.
- Depression is the leading cause of years lost due to disability, the burden being 50% higher for females than males. In both low- and high -income countries, the harmful use of alcohol is among the 10 leading causes of disability.
The production and dissemination of health information for action is one of WHO's core mandated activities. The study provides Member States with key health information for health decision-making, planning and priority setting.
"It is vital that we have a global and regional picture of deaths, disease and disability", says Colin Mathers, Coordinator for Epidemiology and Burden of Disease at WHO and lead author of the study. " It enables policy makers and countries to identify the gaps and ensure that help and efforts are directed to those who are most in need. Countries can use the information to create strategies and cost-effective interventions aimed at improving health across the world."
The study contains information on:
- Causes of death in the different regions of the World Health Organization
- The leading causes of death by age and sex
- The numbers of people with various diseases and disabilities
- The causes of loss of health and the actual loss of years of good health- these are measured in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). One Daly is equivalent to the loss of one year of full health.