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Expert Brief Examines Use Of Global Health Data

“Bill Gates, Margaret Chan, the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), and other experts and leaders gathered this month in Geneva for a very important meeting on a very unimportant-sounding subject: global disease estimates,” Thomas Bollyky, senior fellow for global health, economics and development at the Council on Foreign Relations writes in an expert brief on the council’s webpage. He notes “the release [last year] of the Global Burden Disease (GBD) study, the most comprehensive and ambitious effort to date to quantify the world’s health status,” and writes, “The recent meeting in Geneva produced consensus on principles for generating future global health estimates, but left the more fundamental question — the use of these estimates — unaddressed.” Bollyky adds, “On March 5, [the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)] will release its country-level GBD assessments and will announce that those estimates will be continuously updated. These data would empower national governments to identify the [non-communicable diseases (NCDs)] and risk factors especially prevalent among their poor and increasing fastest” (2/21).

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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.