Is it time to reassess the categorization of disease burdens in low-income countries?

Am J Public Health. 2004 Mar;94(3):384-8. doi: 10.2105/ajph.94.3.384.


The classification of disease burdens is an important topic that receives little attention or debate. One common classification scheme, the broad cause grouping, is based on etiology and health transition theory and is mainly concerned with distinguishing communicable from noncommunicable diseases. This may be of limited utility to policymakers and planners. We propose a broad care needs framework to complement the broad cause grouping. This alternative scheme may be of equal or greater value to planners. We apply these schemes to disability-adjusted life year estimates for 2000 and to mortality data from Tanzania. The results suggest that a broad care needs approach could shift the priorities of health planners and policymakers and deserves further evaluation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease / classification
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Communicable Diseases / classification
  • Communicable Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cost of Illness
  • Developing Countries / economics*
  • Health Planning
  • Health Priorities
  • Health Transition*
  • Humans
  • Mortality
  • Needs Assessment*
  • Poverty
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Tanzania / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / classification