Michael Bloomberg & Julie Bishop - Better Health Data: A Matter of Life and Death

What are the top five leading causes of death? In many countries, the answer is: We really do not know.
Mar 31, 2015 10:30 AM ET

Originally posted on This is Africa

By Michael R. Bloomberg and Julie Bishop 

The World Health Organisation estimates that 65 percent of all deaths worldwide – 35 million each year – go unrecorded. Millions more deaths lack a documented cause. Without that data, governments, donors, and NGOs essentially have to guess how to best target their resources to prevent deaths and diseases, and they have no way to measure their progress – which means people are suffering needlessly and dying from preventable causes.

The absence of data can be deadly. Governments and nonprofits are finding innovative ways to use their resources to improve lives in a changing world – but in many countries, progress is severely limited by a lack of reliable health data. Some governments lack data on risk factors that contribute to poor health. Some do not even have records of births. This is essentially a massive record-keeping problem that has implications for billions of people – and it is solvable.

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Michael R. Bloomberg is a philanthropist, three term Mayor of New York City and founder of Bloomberg LP. The Honorable Julie Bishop MP is Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia.