World Health Organisation
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is the United Nations specialised agency for health, established in 1948. The WHO’s objective is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health. The organisation is governed by 194 member states through the World Health Assembly.
The WHO compiles and disseminates statistics on a wide range of health-related topics, made available to researchers and others in several databases and printed publications. Priority is given to information on mortality, morbidity, health status, service coverage and risk factors. The databases, including documentation, can be accessed through the WHO Data and Statistics website. The MacroDataGuide examines two databases, namely the Global Health Observatory (GHO) and regional office data from the European Health for All Database (HFA-DB).
European Health for All Database
Data types and sources
Data based on official registers and surveys, collected from various sources. Part of the data is annually collected directly from countries. Another part of data comes from those WHO technical units that collect appropriate statistical information within their own field. Secondary sources, such as other international organisations and agencies, are also an important source of data for a number of indicators.
The European “health for all” database (HFA-DB) provides easy and rapid access to a wide range of basic health statistics for the 53 member states of the WHO European Region. The database contains about 600 indicators, organised in the eight groups:
- Demographic and socioeconomic statistics
- Mortality-based indicators
- Morbidity, disability and hospital discharges
- Health care resources
- Health care utilisation and costs
- Maternal and child health
The database covers all the 53 member states of WHO Europe. It also includes aggregated regional data.
Time coverage and updates
HFA-DB contains data from 1970 to present. New data are continuously collected, and the database is updated biannually. Latest update: July 2011.
To ensure that the data are as internationally comparable as possible, recommended definitions of most indicators are provided for countries to follow. If national definitions differ, national agencies are requested to describe the differences and also to provide sources of information. Details on definitions, including the recommended WHO definitions and country-specific notes on national definitions and data sources, are available in the database.
Access conditions and cost
Available online free of charge. For more advanced data display and export options, the user must download the off-line version.
The online version of the database is based on pop-up windows. There are guidelines on how to use it. The database allows users to choose countries, variables and years when constructing tables.
On-screen tables only (including downloadable offline-version).
Comparability and data quality
Data were compiled, validated and processed in a uniform way in order to improve the international comparability of statistics. Nevertheless, since health data recording and handling systems vary between countries, so do the availability and accuracy of data reported to WHO.
Murray, Christopher J. L., Alan D. Lopez and Suwit Wibulpolprasert. 2004. “Monitoring global health: time for new solutions”. British Medical Journal 329 (November): 1096-1100.