PUBLIC HEALTH RESOURCES
The Data Sources pages offer links to a selected list of high quality public health datasets. Some of the organizations listed here include reference, advocacy, and topical resources in addition to datasets, but each organization and resource is listed only once. Those whose datasets stand out are listed in on the Data Sources pages, with metion of some of the other resources available.
United Nations and UN Agencies
A central place to gain access to 28 United Nations datasets in downloadable form is their UNdata portal. The Metadata tab describes what is contained in each of the datasets and offers links to what is available online, along with contact info if more is needed. They also have pages with data grouped by theme, for example, Demographic and Social Statistics.
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Data and Statistics page links to several data offerings, including their Global Health Observatory (GHO), their main repository of health statistics. WHO’s Publications page has links to their many, period reports, including their annual, thematic World Health Reports (beginning in 1995). The data feeding into some of the Reports are available in Excel format. Links are also available to WHO’s annual statistical summaries: World Health Statistics.
WHO’s Global Health Atlas tracks infectious diseases and offers access to a data query; interactive maps; and static maps, with related documents, publications and statistics. However, the home page is so bafflingly quirky that we recommend using these links to the different classifications to gain access: Global Tuberculosis Database, Global Atlas of the Health Workforce, FluNet, DengueNet, RabNet (Human and Animal Rabies), Global Alliance for the Elimination of Blinding Trachoma, Project Atlas: Resources for Mental Health and Neurological Disorders, and Global Information System on Alcohol and Health (GISAH).
WHO’s Global Burden of Disease’s Disease and injury regional estimates offers a myriad of downloadable spreadsheets with their most recent dataset in an easy to follow and use format. The page also links to previous sets of estimates.
WHO’s website also offers links to the data collected by their regional offices. For example, WHO’s Regional Office for Europe has the European Health for All Database (HFA-DB) with 600 indicators for its 53 member states. Data can be accessed online or downloaded for local storage and use. They also offer access to a number of other databases.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) makes much of the data they gather available through their website. Their Statistics and Monitoring page links to seven pages and sites. Examples include the State of the World’s Children 2009, which offers “economic and social data from 195 countries and territories, with particular reference to children's well-being,” as downloadable charts and graphs, downloadable tables and customizable tables; Childinfo—“monitoring the situation of women and children”—which offers tables of data by theme; and their Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), with the goal of producing statistically sound and internationally comparable estimates of a range of indicators in the areas of health, education, child protection and HIV/AIDS. UNICEF also offer a keyword search of references, including “health,” and a section on nutrition.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) gathers considerable health and human development data for its global, regional and national Human Development Reports (HDR), many of which are available in multiple languages. The HDR “Getting and using data” portal includes access to tables and data, downloadable in Excel and sorted by development indicator or by country, or by using tools to build customizable tables. HDR data can be visualized using their Public Data Explorer. (See the article Visualizing Data under the Knowledge Development section.) Other HDR sections include background papers for the thematic reports, a “primer” in measuring human development, “training in human development,” technical notes on how the Human Development indices are calculated, and much more.
MDG Info 2009 offers recent, country level data on progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), using the current indicators to evaluate the progress. It takes a bit of playing to get at the data on this site, but once achieved, they offer pretty charts and graphs that are downloadable in pdf and xml formats as well as the data feeding these in downloadable, comma separated values format. The EndPoverty2015 site lists six portals to MDG indicator-related data. Country level data by MDG indicator over a period of years can also be viewed either online or downloaded at the UN’s Millennium Goals Indicators site. Their Metadata tab offers detailed descriptions of the data, including definitions, collection methods, and contact information.
The United Nations Environment Programme’s Global Environment Outlook (GEO) Data Portal combines data from a number of sources and includes both epidemiological and health infrastructure-related data, such as access to an improved water source or sanitation.