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Global Health Observatory

Lais Snidei

The Global Health Observatory (GHO) is a section of the World Health Organization (WHO), and its pages provide data and analyses on global health priorities. Each theme page provides information on global situation and trends highlights, using core indicators, database views, major publications and links to relevant web pages on the theme.

The data is presented in several ways, including interactive maps, charts and graphs, tables, and pictures for all the major topics covered by the Global Health Observatory. Regarding sources, the World Health Organization used surveys and reports done by partner agencies, as well as primary research and collection of information from databases.

For which of Factistan’s issues it has relevant data: Health in general, Women and Children.

Time period it covers: mostly between 2000 and 2015.

Global Observatory on Health Research & Data 

What is it and why is it needed?

The Global Observatory on Health R&D (hereafter called ‘the Observatory’) is a global-level initiative that aims to help identify health R&D priorities based on public health needs, by:

  • consolidating, monitoring and analysing relevant information on the health R&D needs of developing countries;
  • building on existing data collection mechanisms; and
  • supporting coordinated actions on health R&D.

Investments in health R&D are still insufficiently aligned with global public health demands and needs. As little as 1% of all funding for health R&D is allocated to diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis (diseases that are predominantly incident in developing countries), despite these diseases accounting for more than 12.5% of the global burden of disease.

The recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease dramatically exposed the lack of investment in products and approaches to prevent and minimize the impact of pathogens with epidemic potential. Recently, the gaps in R&D investments and the pipeline for antimicrobial medicines have also become a cause of global concern in the context of rapidly increasing antimicrobial resistance.

Governments, policy-makers, funders and researchers therefore need an accurate picture of the current situation so as to spot R&D gaps and ensure that funds and resources are used in the best possible way.

More information about the Global Observatory R&D:

Sustainable Development Goals

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by world leaders in September 2015 set out a vision for a world free of poverty, hunger, disease and want. SDG 3, “Good Health and Well-Being,” calls on countries to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

The SDG health and health-related targets monitored by the GHO are:

The website also allows browsing for a specific theme by alphabetical order (here).

Life Expectancy

Life expectancy will serve as an overarching indicator to monitor progress toward meeting the health SDG.

Life expectancy is affected by progress toward 13 targets under the health SDG as well as advances made toward 7 health-related targets of other SDGs. According to the data obtained in 2015, life expectancy around the world is shown by the map on this page.

Country statistics

The country statistical pages bring together the main health data and statistics for each country, as compiled by WHO and partners in close consultation with Member States, and include descriptive and analytical summaries of health indicators for major health topics.

To search data statistics of each country (on alphabetical order), click here.

Regional Health Observatories

To know more, you can enter the observatories related to each region:

How to use the website:

As you enter the GHO website (here), you have the option to scroll down and click on a topic that you are interested in from their list, or use the ‘Search’ tool at the top right corner of the page.

After clicking on a topic, you have many options: you can see a full size/interactive map/interactive graph (depending on the topic, one or more of those will be available) by clicking on the “See Interactive Map” on the right side of the picture. You also have the option to see the statistics for the chosen topic by scrolling down and clicking on them for more information and graphs/tables/maps on the issue.

When you click on any topic and the page comes up, the selected topic on the left side will be “Global Health Observatory Data”. Below this one, there are five others (Data Repository, Reports, Country Statistics, Map Gallery, and Standards). Those 5 other links are NOT related specifically to the topic you chose – they will lead you to a page that has broad information about the Global Health Observatory.

How to cite:

Entire Website: “Global Health Observatory (GHO) data.” World Health Organization. United Nations. 2017. Web. 24 Jan 2017.


Citing a specific page (example: Maternal and Reproductive Health):

World Health Organization. “Maternal and Reproductive Health”. United Nations. 2015. Web. 09 Feb 2017.


If citing a table or graph from that page: Source: World Health Organization. Maternity Mortality Ratios (per 100 000 live births: 2015). United Nations. 2015. Web. 09 Feb 2017.