WHO Releases Global Health Repository

By Fidelis Rukwaro

To improve service delivery for all and ensure equity of health services, the World Health Organization (WHO) has released the Health Inequality Data Repository (HIDR) which contains global data and evidence on population health and its determinants.

“The ability to direct services to those who need them the most is vital to advancing health equity and improving lives. Designed as a one-stop-shop for data on health inequality, the Repository will help us move beyond only counting births and deaths, to disaggregating health data according to sex, age, education, region and more,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “If we are truly committed to leaving no one behind, we must figure out who is being missed.”

The data has not been comprehensively separated with most of it broken down only by sex and some by age and residence. For instance, only 170 of the 320 indicators in WHO’s gateway for health-related statistics, the Global Health Observatory, are disaggregated, of which 116, or two-thirds, are disaggregated only by sex.

Despite the limitations, the data has revealed important inequality patterns. Hypertension in developed countries is higher in men while obesity is equal. Developing countries have higher obesity among women with hypertension being similar in both.

For COVID-19, in more than a third of the 90 countries with data, vaccination coverage was 15% higher among the most educated than among the least educated.

WHO urges nations to normalize health inequality monitoring, expand data collection, publicly avail the data and increase capacity for analysis and reporting. It has further stated that analysis should be conducted regularly. They are also committed to working with countries and partners to ensure annual updates of HIDR.

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