WHO launches a new visualization portal for the mortality database – World

A new visualization portal of the World Health Organization (WHO) Mortality Database has been released, reflecting major interface modernization updates that provide unprecedented insight, accessibility and relevance of seven decades of mortality data for policymakers and the public.

For more than a century, mortality and cause-of-death statistics have been critical worldwide to track the impact of disease on population health and to measure the effectiveness of health programs and interventions to save lives. The COVID-19 excess mortality estimates are a stark reminder of the importance of understanding exactly how many people are dying and from what causes.

Since its inception in 1948, WHO has required all Member States to report mortality data and collects this information in the WHO Mortality Database. Today, this unique database is the oldest and largest of its kind, containing data from over 120 countries and territories by cause, year, sex and age.

The portal is an important step in ensuring mortality data is used to drive impact in countries. Among other things, users can now filter and compare information by disease category or age group. You can also use interactive visualizations to view the data by number of deaths, death rates per 100,000, or as a percentage of all deaths.

By clearly showing gaps and trends, the database also allows users to see how countries are performing on inequalities over time. This provides powerful information to guide policies that reduce disparities in health outcomes both within and between countries.

“The WHO Mortality Database Visualization Portal comes at a time when the world desperately needs better access to trustworthy, timely and transparent mortality data,” said Dr. Samira Asma, Deputy Director-General for Data, Analysis and Delivery at WHO. “We urge all stakeholders to use this portal to improve policy making and prevent premature deaths.”

Currently, the portal contains data representing 36% of all deaths worldwide, ranging from 90% in the Americas and Europe regions to less than 10% in Africa and Southeast Asia regions. Global initiatives are underway to help countries improve their civil registration and vital statistics systems as key to generating accurate and timely information on causes of death.

“By investing in modern, sustainable health information systems, we can close critical gaps and improve reporting of causes of death in line with international classification standards,” adds Steve MacFeely, Director of Data and Analytics at WHO. “This is critical to closely tracking progress towards the WHO’s three billion goals and the Sustainable Development Goals.”

As of April 2022, cause of death data is presented using the 10th version of the International Classification of Diseases. However, efforts are being made to move to ICD-11, which came into effect on January 1, 2022, as agreed by all Member States at the 72nd World Health Assembly in 2019.


Visualization portal of the WHO Mortality Database

Visual summary of the WHO Mortality Database

WHO Mortality Database website

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