Globally, about 65% of all deaths, or around 35 million each year, go unrecorded. And millions of deaths do not have a documented cause.
Many records do not provide medically accurate or specific information. Without this information, government officials, public health leaders and funders cannot make informed decisions on priorities including how and where to direct public health resources.
The Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health Initiative seeks to address this very issue and will work to improve public health data so that governments, aid organisations, and public health leaders are equipped with the tools and systems to collect and use data to prioritise health challenges, develop policies, deploy resources, and measure success.
The registration of births and deaths, including the accurate recording of cause of death, are the foundation of any public health system. To help countries improve public health and save lives, the Data for Health Initiative will specifically help countries build and strengthen their civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems. Interventions include technical assistance to increase the registration of births and deaths, improve the quality of cause of death information at hospitals, apply verbal autopsy to better understand probable causes of death in communities, and to produce high-quality data sets and data analysis skills for policy and program analysis.
Working with partners including the CDC Foundation, Johns Hopkins University, the World Health Organization, Union North America and the University of Melbourne – over the next four years, Data for Health aims to help more than one billion people in 20 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America live healthier, longer lives.
The Data for Health initiative will leverage Bloomberg Philanthropies’ data-driven ethos, network of experts and the Australian Government’s InnovationXChange program. TheInnovationXChange brings leaders from NGOs and governments together.
With better data, public health leaders will be able to identify risk behaviors such as smoking or poor nutrition. With this information, related illnesses caused by day-to-day behaviors such as smoking and poor nutrition can be targeted, addressed and prevented with better understanding.
With this information and training in data analysis participating countries and cities in Latin America, Asia, and Africa will be able to turn insights from data into public policy, and direct resources to specific targeted issues affecting public health.