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WHO snapshot of world health

Baby Nargis and his mother hope for better times ahead. More than 138,000 were killed or missing after a devastating cyclone slammed into Myanmar's southern coast.
(Lynn Maung/IRIN)

A newborn in Africa in 2007 would have lived on average 52 years. That baby would have lived an additional 25 years if born in the Americas. Below are other highlights from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Health Statistics 2009, which compiled the most recent data available from 193 countries. Unless otherwise noted, the below statistics are from 2007.

• The poorest paid 85 percent out-of-pocket for their health care costs in 2006.

• More than 60 percent of medication in low-income countries are only available through the private sector, where the cost is more than six times the international market price.

• Two doctors tended to every 10,000 residents in Africa, while 32 did that same job in Europe.

• There are 112 million underweight children worldwide; nine million died before age five.

• More than half a million women died every year in pregnancy or in childbirth complications, 99 percent of them in developing countries. This rate barely changed from 1990 to 2005, the most recent year data was collected.

• The maternal mortality rate in Afghanistan and Niger in 2005 was 1,800/100,000 live births; births attended by skilled health personnel in those countries were 14 percent and 18 percent, respectively.

• More than three billion people were at risk of malaria in 2006; 27 countries reported halving malaria infection and/or deaths from 1990 to 2006.

• Thirty-three million people were living with HIV. Less than one-third requiring HIV treatment in Africa were receiving medicines.

• More than one billion were affected by neglected tropical diseases.

• Thirty-six countries reported more than 25 percent of their youths smoked.

• Fifty-four countries reported less than half their populations used safe sanitation facilities.

• People living in Southeast Asia spent US$31 each on health while those in the Americas spent on average more than $2600 each in 2006.

• Forty percent of children’s deaths in Africa occurred within the first 28 days in 2004, most in the first week.


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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