WHO Releases 2008 World Health Statistics
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released World Health Statistics 2008, which summarizes data collected from 193 member states and extrapolates future health trends. According to the data, mortality from non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer, is on the rise while deaths from communicable diseases are expected to decline significantly over the next 20 years. "Non-communicable conditions will cause over three quarters of all deaths in 2030," the report states. This shift in disease burden is occurring worldwide, even in developing nations. "We tend to associate developing countries with infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. But in more and more countries the chief causes of death are non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease and stroke," stated Dr. Ties Boerma, director of the WHO Department of Health Statistics and Informatics. Contrary to the projections of other infectious diseases like tuberculosis and malaria, HIV/AIDS mortality is expected to rise until 2012 before reaching a decline. The new report also highlights trends in maternal mortality, the spread of malaria, mortality associated with tobacco use, and health care spending.