Health statistics - Meeting hosted by WHO stresses need for investment in data collection - Participants at a meeting of global leaders in health statistics, hosted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, this week, have agreed unanimously on the need for increased investment in data collection, particularly on deaths and their causes.
“More than 100 countries do not have a system that registers births and deaths, and only 34 countries – representing just 15% of the world’s population – produce quality cause-of-death data,” a WHO statement obtained by PANA here Friday quoted Dr Ties Boerma, director of Health Statistics and Information Systems at WHO, to have said.
“Accurate health data are critical for a better understanding of the health situation and to determine where we need to focus attention and resources,” Boerma said.
The meeting, which discussed future possibilities of collaboration to improve current practices in health estimates, was attended by representatives from WHO, UNFPA and other UN agencies, the World Bank, development foundations, academic institutions and scientific journals committed to working together more closely for better calculation, sharing and communication of estimates of health indicators.
In an effort to provide the world with the best possible, comparable global health statistics, participants agreed to work together under four key proposals: Regular, more formalised interaction between UN agencies and academic groups from around the world working on global health estimates and call for increased investment in country health information systems to reduce reliance on statistical models, and inclusion of a target in the post-2015 development agenda for civil registration and vital statistics systems;
Other key proposals are greater investment in training and tools to enhance the capacity to produce, interpret and use estimates in developing countries; and better sharing of data and methods of estimation among scientists, as well as better communication of data to policymakers and the general public.