Published on Investing in Health

Global Burden of Disease: Mining the Data

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A few weeks ago, I invited Dr. Chris Murray - Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington - to discuss the major conclusions of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2010 study with World Bank health and human development staff, gathered from country offices across the world.

His presentation was a huge hit, and with good reason: At the Bank, we see the study's data-rich framework as a key ingredient in spearheading more meaningful discussions with countries and development partners on critical policy and investment decisions.

Dr. Murray, together with Bill Gates, last week announced a new set of (much-anticipated) GBD 2010 country-specific findings and data visualizations, detailing health trends for demographics, disease and disability for 187 countries. The release country data will spur debate and controversy which will, through discussion, improve the data over time.

Bank staff are now exploring the potential of these tools, but we can already see myriad ways in which they will allow us to work more effectively. At the country level, the data should spur discussions that are more relevant and targeted, not only with ministries of health but with ministries of finance.

At the regional level, such data will serve to establish rich exchanges between countries and generate knowledge to better understand the rationale for different outcomes in countries with similar socioeconomic profiles.

And at the global level, GBD 2010 data will give those of us working in global agencies a way to analyze and understand the trends across different regions and adapt accordingly.

We look forward to GBD 2010's next step, when we can link expenditures data to the burden of disease, and when disaggregation by income quintile and subnational data will become available. For now, we're make the most of this latest contribution to the global health community.


Nicole Klingen

Regional Director, Human Development, South Asia

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