WHO Releases Annual World Health Statistics Report

The WHO on Friday released its annual World Health Statistics report, which includes data on more than 100 indicators – such as life expectancy, mother and child mortality, disease prevalence and health expenditures – from the agency’s 193 member states, the Associated Press reports (5/14).

According to the report, child mortality has dropped 2.7 percent annually since 2000, twice the rate of decline in the 1990s, PressTV notes (5/14). “The health body said there had been an equally impressive rate of decline in the number of women dying from complications in pregnancy and childbirth – and a rise in the average life expectancy to 68 years in 2009, up from 64 years in 1990,” Reuters adds (Lewis, 5/13). One exception to the longevity improvements was in South Africa, where life expectancy rates among women have fallen in the last two decades, “a reflection of the country’s high HIV infection rate. Men’s life expectancy in 2009 remained stable at 54 years compared with the figure nine years earlier, but was down from 59 in 1990,” the AP reports (5/14).

These overall gains in health and socioeconomic status in developing countries also have made their populations more susceptible to non-communicable diseases, which traditionally “tended to be identified as the ills of opulence, limited to high-income countries, WHO director of Health Statistics and Informatics Ties Boerma told IPS,” the news service reports (Capdevila, 5/13).

The WHO also launched its Global Health Observatory, a new website that “provides easy access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of health data, bringing together the organization’s data from all major health and disease programmes,” according to the U.N. News Centre (5/13).

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