Statistics: finding public health trends
28 December 2007
Statistics are more than just a set of defining numbers. They paint an important picture that allows policy-makers to decide how best to use resources to improve public health.
Through its 193 members, WHO is in a unique position to paint a statistical picture of global health trends. However, that picture is far from complete.
Knowing how many people are born or have died, and from which causes, is vital information and yet many low-income countries do not have a well functioning health information system. In response, WHO is helping countries build systems that will produce accurate figures and allow them to identify their most pressing health issues.
On a broader level, WHO draws information from Member States, publications and databases produced by its technical programmes and regional offices to identify trends. Experts strive to produce accurate statistics that provide a richer analysis of health information.