Global Health Estimates 2019: WHO | 11 Dec 2020

Why in News

Recently, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) released the 2019 Global Health Estimates.

  • The WHO Global Health Estimates provide a comprehensive and comparable assessment of mortality and loss of health due to diseases and injuries for all regions of the world.
  • The new data of Global Health Estimates cover the period from 2000 to 2019.
  • The Estimates are in consonance with the report Ten Threats to Global Health in 2019 by WHO.

Key Points

  • Key Findings of the Global Health Estimates 2019:
    • Top Ten Causes of Death: Ischaemic heart disease, Stroke, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Lower respiratory infections, Neonatal conditions, Trachea, bronchus and lung cancers, Alzheimer disease and other dementias, Diarrhoeal diseases, Diabetes mellitus, Kidney diseases.
    • Non-communicable diseases: Make up 7 of the world’s top 10 causes of death, an increase from 4 of the 10 leading causes in 2000.
      • Heart disease : It now represents 16% of total deaths from all causes and the number of deaths from heart disease increased by more than two million since 2000 to nearly 9 million in 2019.
      • Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia: Ranked 3rd in both the Americas and Europe in 2019.
        • Women are disproportionately affected: globally, 65% of deaths from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are women.
      • Diabetes: Deaths from diabetes increased by 70% globally between 2000 and 2019, with an 80% rise in deaths among males.
        • In the Eastern Mediterranean, deaths from diabetes have more than doubled and represent the greatest percentage increase of all WHO regions.
    • Communicable diseases: They still take in low-income countries: 6 of the top 10 causes of death in low-income countries are still communicable diseases, including malaria (6th), tuberculosis (8th) and Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) (9th).
      • Pneumonia and other lower respiratory infections: These were the deadliest group of communicable diseases and together ranked as the fourth leading cause of death.
        • However, compared to 2000, lower respiratory infections were claiming fewer lives than in the past, with the global number of deaths decreasing by nearly half a million.
        • The reduction is in line with a general global decline in the percentage of deaths caused by communicable diseases.
      • AIDS : It dropped from the 8th leading cause of death in 2000 to the 19th in 2019, reflecting the success of efforts to prevent infection, test for the virus and treat the disease over the last two decades.
        • It remains the fourth leading cause of death in Africa, the number of deaths has dropped by more than half, falling from over 1 million in 2000 to 435 000 in 2019 in Africa.
      • Tuberculosis : It is no longer in the global top 10, falling from 7th place in 2000 to 13th in 2019, with a 30% reduction in global deaths.
        • However, it remains among the top 10 causes of deaths in the African and South-East Asian regions, where it is the 8th and 5th leading cause respectively.
    • More non-communicable diseases are now causing deaths worldwide, there has been a global decline in deaths from communicable diseases, which however still remain a major challenge in low- and middle-income countries.
    • Longevity: The estimates confirm the growing trend for longevity as in 2019, people were living more than 6 years longer than in 2000.
      • Global average of longevity was 73 years in 2019 compared to nearly 67 in 2000.
      • The new projections state that people are living longer but with more disability.
  • Suggestions:
    • There is a need for an intensified global focus on preventing and treating cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases, as well as tackling injuries, in all regions of the world, as set out in the agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals.
    • The world needs to rapidly step up prevention, diagnosis and treatment of non-communicable diseases.
    • There is an urgency to improve primary health care equitably and holistically.
      • Strong primary health care is clearly the foundation on which everything rests, from combating non-communicable diseases to managing a global pandemic.
    • Governments and stakeholders need to urgently invest in data and health information systems to support timely and effective decision-making.
  • Indian Initiatives to Improve Health sector:
    • Ayushman Bharat: It is a flagship initiative that attempts to move away from the sectoral and segmented approach of service delivery to a comprehensive need-based health care service.
      • Aim: It has been launched by the government with an aim to move towards a provision of universal healthcare in the country.
    • POSHAN Abhiyaan: It aims to ensure service delivery and interventions by use of technology, behavioural change through convergence and lays-down specific targets to be achieved across different monitoring parameters.
    • National Digital Health Mission: It is a complete digital health ecosystem. The digital platform will be launched with four key features — health ID, personal health records, Digi Doctor and health facility registry.