WORLD HEALTH STATISTICS REPORT (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Health)

News-CRUX-10     25th May 2024        
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Context: The annual World Health Statistics Report recently revealed that by 2019, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) accounted for 73.9% of global deaths, while communicable diseases fell to 18.2%.

Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs)

  • About: also known as chronic diseases, tend to be of long duration and are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behavioural factors.
  • Main types of NCD: cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.
  • Affected people: These conditions are often associated with older age groups, but evidence shows that 17 million NCD deaths occur before the age of 70 years.
  • Primarily four major risk factors: Tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets which contributes to:

o Raised blood pressure (hypertension),

o Raised blood sugar (diabetes),

o Raised and abnormal blood lipids (dyslipidemia).

o Air pollution is also a leading risk factor for NCDs.

  • Transmission: Non-communicable diseases are not passed from person to person. 

o They can be passed down genetically, but they are not contagious.

  • Treatment: NCDs are largely preventable and treatable.

o There are no treatment options that lead to curing a non-communicable disease from the body.


World Health Statistics Report

  • About: It a yearly publication of the WHO, presents the most recent health statistics of its 194 Member States. 
  • 9 Areas: Life expectancy and mortality, Cause-specific mortality and morbidity, Selected, infectious diseases, Health service coverage, Risk factors, Health systems, Health expenditures, Health inequities and Demographic and socioeconomic statistics.

Key Finding of Report

  • COVID-19: The estimates showed that 13 million people died of COVID-19 between 2020 and 2021.
  • Communicable Diseases: With the emergence of COVID-19, communicable diseases surged, accounting for 23.0% of all deaths in 2020 and 28.1% in 2021, returning to 2005 levels.
  • NCD Deaths: As a result, the share of NCD deaths declined to 70.0% in 2020 and 65.3% in 2021, according to the WHO.
  • Global Life Expectancy: It increased by 7.8 years from 1990 to 2019, according to a Lancet study.
  • Antimicrobial Resistance: AMR to third-generation cephalosporins in E. coli and methicillin resistance in Staphylococcus aureus increased to 41% and 32% respectively in 2021, compared to 26.9% and 13.4% in 2016.
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