India accounts for 20 per cent of global maternal mortality
One in three adults worldwide has elevated blood pressure — a condition that causes half of all deaths from stroke and heart disease — and one in 10 adults has diabetes.
This, according to the World Health Statistics 2012 report, puts the spotlight on the growing burden of non-communicable diseases, suggesting that they now cause almost two-thirds of all deaths worldwide.
For the first time, the World Health Organisation's annual statistics report, released on Wednesday, includes information from 194 countries on the percentage of men and women with raised blood pressure and blood glucose levels. In high-income countries, widespread diagnosis and treatment with low-cost medication have significantly reduced the mean blood pressure across populations — and this has contributed to a reduction in deaths from heart disease.
In Africa, however, more than 40 per cent (and up to 50 per cent) of adults in many countries are estimated to have high blood pressure. Most of these people remain undiagnosed, although many cases could be treated with low-cost medications, which would significantly reduce the risk of death and disability from heart disease and stroke.
Also included for the first time in the WHO report are data on people with raised blood glucose levels. While the global average prevalence is around 10 per cent, up to one-third of the populations in some Pacific Island countries has this condition. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to cardiovascular disease, blindness and kidney failure.
The highest obesity levels are in the WHO Region of the Americas (26 per cent of adults) and the lowest in the WHO South-East Asia Region (3 per cent obese). In all parts of the world, women are more likely than men to be obese and thus are at greater risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
The World Health Assembly, to be held in Geneva from 21-26 May 2012, will review progress since the last meeting and agree on the next steps.
Work is under way to develop a global monitoring framework and a set of voluntary targets for prevention and control of these diseases. Published annually by the WHO, the World Health Statistics is the most comprehensive publication of health-related global statistics available. It contains data from 194 countries on a range of mortality, disease and health system indicators, including life expectancy, illnesses and deaths from a range of diseases, health services and treatments, financial investment in health, as well as risk factors and behaviours that affect health.
The statistics suggest that maternal mortality has decreased by over 47 per cent over the last 20 years — from more than 5,40,000 deaths in 1990 to less than 2,90,000 in 2010. One-third of these maternal deaths occurred in just two countries — India with 20 per cent of the global total and Nigeria with 14 per cent.
Data for 2000-2010 show public health advancements have helped to save children's lives in the past decade. The world has made significant progress, having reduced the number of deaths from almost 10 million children under 5 in 2000 to 7.6 million in 2010. The decline in the number of deaths from diarrhoeal disease and measles has been particularly striking.
On death registration, the report says only 34 countries (representing 15 per cent of the world's population) produce high quality cause-of-death data. In low- and middle-income countries, less than 10 per cent of the deaths are registered.
One in 3 adults worldwide has raised BP, causing half of all deaths from stroke and heart disease Public health advancements have helped to save children's lives in decade 2000-10
One in 3 adults worldwide has raised BP, causing half of all deaths from stroke and heart disease
Public health advancements have helped to save children's lives in decade 2000-10