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World Health Statistics

There’s no doubt that in the last decades, especially from 2000 to 2010, health statistics have clearly shown us that health in the world may be changed dramatically because of human factor (decisions and actions).

As a prove of that, among many others, life expectancy has grown from 47 years old in 1950 to 67 years old in 2010, that means an increase of 20 years of age in just 60 years of human history.

Graph 1. Life expectancy for the world and selected regions, 1950-1955 to 2000-2005[1]

F I

This graph shows that life expectancy in every region of the world is being increased in similar way (except for Eastern Europe) but in different time. That means that even if life expectancy in Africa has been about 30 years old under life expectancy in the more developed regions, excluding Eastern Europe, during the last 60 years, the trend is just the same even some regions are more or less delayed than others. And the most important fact is that such trend has been achieved thanks to development of medical science and technology, development of health systems, immunization programs, etc., (human factor).

However nowadays there exist enormous differences among the life quality of the different regions all over the world, which are also due to human factor (social inequality, injustice, different development level).

For instance, Graph 2 shows the distribution of causes of death in each region in a percent way. While on the one hand diseases in Group I (communicable diseases such as AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis) are the leading causes of death in Africa, on the other hand, leading causes of death in the most developed countries are diseases of group II (non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer, obesity).

Graph 2. Percentage distribution of deaths by group of causes, 2008,

and life expectancy at birth, 2005-2010, for the world and selected regions[2]

F II

If we divide the world population in two categories of income, and analyze each category by the most common specific causes of death we can observe that the attention of the health problems are very different because the diseases causing deaths and their origins are very different too. (See Graph 2A and Graph 2B).

Graph 2A                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Graph 2B

low-incomeHigh-income

Considering that average life expectancy at birth in the “longest-lived” populations is 81 years old, life expectancy and the probability of living or dying by different causes of death is shown for each region of the world in the following Graph 3.

Graph 3. Years of life expectancy at birth to be gained by reducing cause group-specific death rates to equal those in the “longest-lived” populations, 2005-2010[3]

F IV

Age of dying varies among the different regions of the world. While in the most developed countries, except Eastern Europe, almost 85 % of its population dies at age of 60 or older, in Africa almost 40 % of its population unfortunately die before 4 years old and only 22% reaches the age of 60. (See Graph 4).

Graph 4. Percentage distribution of deaths by age group for the world and selected regions, 2005-2010[4]

F II.3

Causes of death depend on the age of deceased. That means that 90% of young children (0-4 years old) die due to infections or diseases of Group I. As age of deceased person grows the cause of his/her death tends to be due to diseases of Group II and only 10% of people who die older than 60 years die because of communicable diseases (Group I).

Graph 5. Percentage distribution of deaths by group of causes, 2008, and life expectancy at birth, 2005-2010, for the world and selected regions [5]

F II.9

If we analyze separately each group of causes of death it is clear to observe the remarkable distribution of number of deaths in the different regions on the world, that is to say that Africa is the part of the world where people dies the most, in the 3 different groups. In contrast, the most developed countries, except Eastern Europe, show a much reduced amount of deaths in each of the groups due to its developed quality of life and grown life expectancy. (See Graphs 6, 7 and 8, respectively regarding deaths due to diseases of Group I, Group II and Group III).

Graph 6. Number of years and percentage of survival gap in selected regions due to excess mortality from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, 2005-2010 [6]

III 2

Graph 7.Number of years and percentage of survival gap in selected regions due to excess mortality from heart diseases, stroke, cancers, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 2005-2010[7]

III. 5

Graph 8. Number of years of the survival gap in selected regions due to excess mortality from selected categories of injuries, 2005-2010 [8]

III. 7

As a sample of successful health programs is the decrease of deaths in children due to immunization campaigns. Indeed between 2000 and 2010 deaths of children decreased from 9.6 million to 7.6 million. If this trend continues maybe in the next 40 years death in children would be reduced to 0. With regard to measles number of deaths have fallen down dramatically in the last 10 years due to the improvement of immunization coverage. (See Figure 1.) [9]

measles

An alarming health issue is the fact that during the last 30 years obesity in the world has been duplicated in every region of the world but particularly in Mexico and the Americas. (See Figure 3.)[10] Consequently other related diseases (Group II) such as diabetes, hypertension, cerebrovascular and heart diseases are threatening the world’s population of the 21st century.

obese

Limitations of health statistics

Even of the fact that health statistical information has helped the humanity to solve their most relevant problems about health, nowadays the measuring and control system of health all over the world is still very poor. Only 25 % of the population in the world lives in a country with a certain kind of control and registration of birth and death. (See Figure 6) [11] and only 15% of the countries of the world concentrated in Europe and the Americas have formal registration systems.

 reported numbers

CONCLUSION

Changes in life expectancy, mortality, health level and distribution of causes of death depend on development (scientific, technological, political, social and cultural) = human factor.

 

Sources

[1] World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision (United Nations publication, ST/ESA/SER.A/306).

[2] World Health Organization. Mortality estimates by cause, age and sex for the year 2008 (http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/en/).

[3] ONU. “Changing Levels and Trends in Mortality: the role of patterns of death by cause.”
Economic & Social affairs2012: 19. United Nations 2013. 003/02/2013 http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/levelsandtrendsinmortality/Changing%20levels%20and%20trends%20in%20mortality.pdf

[4] World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision (United Nations publication, ST/ESA/SER.A/306).

[5] World Health Organization. Mortality estimates by cause, age and sex for the year 2008 (http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/en/).

[6] ONU. “Changing Levels and Trends in Mortality: the role of patterns of death by cause.”
Economic & Social affairs2012: 47. United Nations 2013. 003/02/2013 http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/levelsandtrendsinmortality/Changing%20levels%20and%20trends%20in%20mortality.pdf

[7] ONU. “Changing Levels and Trends in Mortality: the role of patterns of death by cause.”
Economic & Social affairs2012: 52. United Nations 2013. 003/02/2013 http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/levelsandtrendsinmortality/Changing%20levels%20and%20trends%20in%20mortality.pdf

[8] ONU. “Changing Levels and Trends in Mortality: the role of patterns of death by cause.”
Economic & Social affairs2012: 56. United Nations 2013. 003/02/2013 http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/levelsandtrendsinmortality/Changing%20levels%20and%20trends%20in%20mortality.pdf

[9] WHO. ” A snapshot of global health.” World Health Statistics 2012: 5. World Health Organization. 03/02/2013 http://www.who.int/gho/publications/world_health_statistics/EN_WHS2012_Brochure.pdf.

[10] WHO. ” A snapshot of global health.” World Health Statistics 2012: 7. World Health Organization. 03/02/2013 http://www.who.int/gho/publications/world_health_statistics/EN_WHS2012_Brochure.pdf.

[11] WHO. ” A snapshot of global health.” World Health Statistics 2012: 10. World Health Organization. 03/02/2013 http://www.who.int/gho/publications/world_health_statistics/EN_WHS2012_Brochure.pdf.

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