The World Health Organization and global health estimates: improving collaboration and capacity

BMC Med. 2015 Mar 10;13:50. doi: 10.1186/s12916-015-0286-7.


Global, regional, and country statistics on population and health indicators are important for assessing development and health progress and for guiding resource allocation; however, data are often lacking, especially in low- and middle-income countries. To fill the gaps, statistical modelling is frequently used to produce comparable health statistics across countries that can be combined to produce regional and global statistics. The World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with other United Nations agencies and academic experts, regularly updates estimates for key indicators and involves its Member States in the process. Academic institutions also publish estimates independent from the WHO using different methods. The use of sophisticated statistical estimation methods to fill missing values for countries can reduce the pressures on governments and development agencies to improve information systems. Efforts to improve estimates must be accompanied by concerted attempts to address data gaps, common standards for documentation, sharing of data and methods, and regular interaction and collaboration among all groups involved.

MeSH terms

  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Global Health*
  • Humans
  • Information Systems
  • Models, Statistical*
  • World Health Organization*