Community Indicators for Your Community

Real, lasting community change is built around knowing where you are, where you want to be, and whether your efforts are making a difference. Indicators are a necessary ingredient for sustainable change. And the process of selecting community indicators -- who chooses, how they choose, what they choose -- is as important as the data you select.

This is an archive of thoughts I had about indicators and the community indicators movement. Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

World Health Statistics 2007

The World Health Organization has released World Health Statistics 2007, which covers health statistics for 193 nations.

World Health Statistics 2007 Cover

Here's how they describe the report:

World Health Statistics 2007 has been collated from publications and databases produced by WHO’s technical programmes and regional offices. The core set of indicators was selected on the basis of their relevance to global health, the availability and quality of the data, and the accuracy and comparability of estimates. The statistics for the indicators are derived from an interactive process of data collection, compilation, quality assessment and estimation occurring among WHO’s technical programmes and its Member States. During this process, WHO strives to maximize the accessibility, accuracy, comparability and transparency of health statistics.

You can query an interactive database, download the tables, open a PDF summary document, or order a hard copy of the document here.

Interestingly enough, included in the indicator set are indicators of Mortality, Morbidity, Health Service Coverage, Risk Factors, Health Systems, Inequities in Health, Demographic and Socioeconomic Statistics ... and Information and Communication Technology. You'll want to check out the report to see the relationship between telephone access and public health.

I also liked their analysis of trends. Here's one that caught my eye (from Ten Statistical Highlights in Global Public Health):

Predicted statistics have an important and useful role in helping to inform planning and strategic decisionmaking, and in prioritizing research and development issues. According to projections carried out by WHO and published in early 2006, the world will experience a substantial shift in the distribution of deaths from younger age groups to older age groups, and from communicable diseases to noncommunicable diseases during the next 25 years.

Large declines in mortality are projected to occur between 2002 and 2030 for all of the principal communicable, maternal, perinatal and nutritional causes, with the exception of HIV/AIDS. Global deaths from HIV/AIDS are projected to rise from 2.8 million in 2002 to 6.5 million in 2030 under a baseline scenario that assumes antiretroviral drug coverage reaches 80% by 2012.

The data are fascinating, and the compilation is a great resource. In addition, WHO provides links to other health statistic databases, so if they don't have the numbers you're looking for, you'll likely find it on one of their linked resources.


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