Half of global deaths have recorded cause: WHO

Geneva, May 17 (IANS) Highlighting improvements that countries have made with regard to collecting vital statistics, the World Health Organisation on Wednesday said almost half of global deaths are now recorded with a cause.

Of the estimated 56 million deaths globally in 2015, at least 27 million were registered with a cause of death, WHO said.
The global health body — which released its World Health Statistics, 2017 report on Wednesday — said the improvement showed nations were monitoring progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Among the countries which have shown tremendous improvement towards showing reasons behind deaths are China, Turkey and Iran, where 90 per cent deaths were recorded with detailed cause-of-death information, compared to only five per cent in 1999.
“If countries don’t know what makes people get sick and die, it’s a lot harder to know what to do about it,” said Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation.
In 2005, only about a third of deaths had a recorded cause.
Incomplete or incorrect information on the registered deaths reduce the usefulness of those data for tracking public health trends, planning measures to improve health, and evaluating whether policies are working.
The World Health Statistics, one of WHO’s annual flagship publications, compiles data from the organisation’s 194 member states on 21 health-related SDG targets, providing a snapshot of both gains and threats to the health of the world’s people.
While the quality of health data has improved significantly in recent years, many countries still do not routinely collect high-quality data to monitor health-related SDG indicators.
“The most recent data from 117 countries show that an average of 9.3 per cent of people in each country spend more than 10 per cent of their household budget on health care, a level of spending that is likely to expose a household to financial hardship,” said the data.
Ten measures of essential health service coverage have improved since 2000. Coverage of treatment for HIV and bed nets to prevent malaria have increased the most, from very low levels in 2000.
“Steady increases have also been seen in access to antenatal care and improved sanitation, while gains in routine child immunization coverage from 2000 to 2010 slowed somewhat between 2010 and 2015,” the data said.

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