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    322946
    Peer Reviewed

    Keeping count: Births, deaths, and causes of death.

    Lopez AD; Abou Zah C; Shibuya K; Gollogly L

    Lancet. 2007 Nov 24; 370(9601):1744-1746.

    The four papers in this Series called Who Counts? describe the state of the world's vital statistics, and the fact that few countries derive these from routine compulsory measures through civil registration. However, every country in the world has the capacity to produce useful economic data. Because of its particular interest in, and requirements for, demographic and epidemiological data, the health sector should raise similar expectations of national capacity to produce vital statistics. Unrepresentative, biased, incomplete, and often out-of-date, the world's vital statistics compare poorly with the detailed information available on every country's economy. The effort and expense of gathering and interpreting data on national income and trade balances are accepted costs of monitoring economic prospects in an international market. Health is arguably as important as economics, and establishing their mutual interdependence has made a big difference to the funding and attention that health attracts.Sen proposes mortality as an indicator of economic success or failure, but many countries are still making patchy and incomplete efforts to count lives and deaths, and to document how their people die. (excerpt)
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