World Health Statistics 2018 released

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recently the annual World Health Statistics. This year, the focus is on health related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Background Information:

The health-related indicators have been grouped into seven thematic areas:

  1. Reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health
  2. Infectious diseases
  3. Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and mental health
  4. Injuries and violence
  5. Universal health coverage (UHC) and health systems
  6. Environmental risks
  7. Health risks and disease outbreaks.

Key Messages:

Reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health

In 2013, >40% of all pregnant women did not receive early Antenatal care.

In 2015, an estimated 303 000 women worldwide died due to maternal causes. Almost all of these deaths (99%) occurred in low and middle-income countries (LMIC), with almost two thirds (64%) occurring in the WHO African Region.

In 2016, the under-five mortality rate was 41/1000 live births- much lower than 93/1000 live births in 1990.

Causes of under 5 deaths 2016 WHS2018

An estimated 77% of women of reproductive age who
are married or in-union have their family planning needs met with a modern contraceptive method – leaving nearly 208 million women with unmet need for contraception.

In 2017, among under-five children:

  • 22% were stunted (low height-for-age)
  • 7.5% were wasted (low weight-for-age)
  • 5.6% were overweight

Infectious diseases

Globally, HIV incidence has declined from 0.40 per 1000 uninfected population in 2005 to 0.26 per 1000 uninfected population in 2016.

In 2016, an estimated 1 million people died of HIV-related illnesses -120 000 of whom were children under 15 years of age.

There has been a 48% decline in HIV-related deaths between 2005 and 2016, largely driven by a scale-up of antiretroviral therapy (ART).

However, at the end of 2016, ART reached only 53% of people living with HIV.

Progress in controlling malaria stalled in 2016 due to lack of funding.

The global incidence of Tuberculosis (TB) declined  from 173 new cases per 100 000 population in 2000 to 140 per 100 000 population in 2016 – a 19% decline over the 16-year period.

The TB mortality rate among HIV-negative people fell by 39% during the same period.

In 2016, an estimated 10.4 million people fell ill with TB, of whom 90% were adults, 65% were male and 10% were people living with HIV.

Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) and mental health

In 2016, NCDs caused 71% of all deaths, of which the leading causes were:

  • cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), accounting for 44% deaths
  • cancer (22%)
  • chronic respiratory disease (9%)
  • diabetes (4%) of all NCD deaths.

More than 1.1 billion people over 15 years’ age smoked tobacco in 2016:

  • 34% of males
  • 15% of females in this age group

There were more than 800 000 suicide deaths in 2016. Men are 75% more likely to die as a result of suicide than women.

Suicide deaths 2016 WHS2018

Injuries and violence

Road traffic crashes killed 1.25 million people worldwide in 2013 and injured up to 50 million more. The death rate due to road traffic injuries was 2.6 times higher in low income countries (24.1 deaths per 100 000 population) than in high-income countries (9.2 deaths per 100 000 population), despite lower rates of vehicle ownership in low-income countries.

Globally, 23% of adults have suffered physical abuse as a child.

35% of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence at some time in their lives.

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and health systems

At least 50% of the world’s population doesn’t have full coverage of essential health services.

In 2010, an estimated 808 million people – 11.7% of the world’s population – spent at least 10% of their household budget (total household expenditure or income) paying out of their own pocket for health services. For 179 million of these people, such payments exceeded a quarter of their household budget.

In 2016, one in 10 children worldwide did not receive even the first dose of diphtheria tetanus-pertussis
(DTP1) vaccine. In the same year, the global coverage of three doses of DTP (DTP3) vaccine among children was 86% (unchanged since 2010).

During this same period, coverage of a second dose of
measles-containing vaccine (MCV2) increased from 39% to 64% but this is still insufficient to prevent measles outbreaks and avoid preventable deaths.

Environmental risks

In 2015,

  • only 71% of the global population had access to safely managed drinking water services
  • only 39% of the global population had access to safely managed sanitation services

In 2016, 91% of people did not breathe clean air.

In 2016, only 59% of the global population had access to clean fuel and technology for cooking.  The resulting household air pollution is estimated to have caused 3.8 million deaths from NCDs (including heart disease, stroke and cancer) and acute lower
respiratory infections in 2016.

Health risks and disease outbreaks

Under the International Health Regulations (2005), all
States Parties are required to have or to develop minimum core public health capacities to implement the IHR (2005) effectively. The average core capacity score of all reporting countries in 2017 was 72%.

Useful Links:

Link to the World Health Statistics 2018:

Link to WHO document highlighting selected data from World Health Statistics 2018 (English) [PDF]:

Click to access EN_WHS2018_SDGhighlights.pdf


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