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Bill Gates, IHME Expected To Announce Plans For More Frequently Updated Global Health Data

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “and researchers at the University of Washington [on Tuesday] will announce ambitious plans to help achieve [better measurement of health trends around the world] with more-frequent updates to global death and disease statistics that used to take a decade or more to compile and analyze,” the Seattle Times reports, noting, “New results will be issued at least annually, covering 187 countries from Afghanistan to Zambia.” Also on Tuesday, Chris Murray, director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), “and his colleagues will also unveil detailed findings from their most recent survey, a massive, country-by-country analysis that documents everything from a steep drop in child mortality in India to the rising epidemic of violence that is now the leading killer of young men in Colombia,” the newspaper writes.

The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, was released in December, “[b]ut some critics remain leery of the complex statistical methods Murray and his team use to fill in data gaps for the developing world, where reliable statistics are scarce,” the Seattle Times states, adding, “And IHME’s reluctance to share its methods and some of its data have rekindled resentment against the Seattle institute, founded in 2007 with $105 million from the Seattle-based Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.” Thomas Bollyky, a Gates Foundation adviser and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said, “If the GBD report is really going to shape global policy, which is what it is meant to do, there is going to be a real need for transparency,” according to the newspaper, which adds, “More frequent updates will probably prove most valuable to individual countries, said Bollyky.” The newspaper notes, “Gates is expected to announce millions more in additional funding for the effort on Tuesday” (Doughton, 3/4).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.