CIESIN Reproduced, with permission, from: World Health Organization (WHO). 1992a. Global health situation and projections--estimates. Geneva: World Health Organization.


The formulation, coordination, monitoring and evaluation of international health policies and strategies must be supported through the provision of information on the global health situation, as well as its socioeconomic, demographic and health services determinants. The present document should contribute to satisfying this information need.

Global health situation and projections -- estimates (compiled in March 1992) is based on and supplements information contained in the Implementation of the Global Strategy for Health for All by the Year 2000, second evaluation; and eighth report on the world health situation, particularly Chapter 5, Patterns and trends in health status. It revises and updates data provided in the earlier version of the document - Global estimates for health situation assessment and projections, 1990. As before most of the data contained in this version relate to the global situation; where possible regional data have also been provided.

Data on a number of relevant health variables is scarce, but the need for a realistic information base to support international health work is also pressing. Technical programmes at WHO headquarters recognize this and have made judicious use of available data to estimate the magnitude of health problems and related issues relevant for their area of responsibility. Their contributions were reviewed by the Global Health Situation Assessment and Projections Unit (HST/GSP) for their consistency. Relevant extracts were then compiled for the specific purpose of providing an overall bird's-eye view of the current global health situation, by using broad numerical values. Detailed information provided by WHO technical programmes concerning their achievements were not included in this document as they can be found in other publications. Relevant data/information for some of the items such as for socioeconomic development were however taken from various publications of the United Nations and other international agencies.

Extensive use was made of available recent data which were interpreted and extrapolated in a global context. In cases where data were lacking or inadequate, "guesstimates" were prepared based on epidemiological and statistical principles and procedures, to ensure a reasonable degree of reliability. The resulting figures provide orders of magnitude of health concerns to support policy making, but they lack the high degree of precision necessary for formulating, implementing and evaluating disease-specific intervention strategies.

It should be emphasized that this document is based on data/information available at the time of preparation, and its quality is limited by the validity of epidemiological judgement and creativity used in extrapolating these data, however patchy they may have been. As more and better data become available, the values of various estimates will be revised and the quality improved. Great caution is thus warranted in interpreting and using these estimates.

The publication of this document is but one stage in the continuous process of improving the availability and reliability of global estimates by updating and refining them as better data become available. Readers and users are therefore invited to forward their comments and suggestions to the address given below in order to improve the scope and quality of these estimates, and thereby to assist in providing the latest and most reliable information possible.

Detailed information on a number of aspects of the global health situation are already available in other documents and statistical publications prepared by WHO, e.g. the World health statistics quarterly, the World health statistics annual, the Eighth report on the world health situation and Demographic data for health situation assessment and projections. The present document complements these publications.

For further inforamtion and clarification, kindly contact:

Global Health Situation Assessment and Projections Unit
HST Division
World Health Organization
20, Avenue Appia
CH-1211 Geneve 27