World Health Statistics, one of the World Health Organization's annual publications (WHOs), publishes data from 194 Member States on sustainable health objectives, providing a comprehensive and exhaustive overview of the global health status of the world's population .

Almost half of all deaths globally are now recorded with a cause, new data from WHO show, highlighting improvements countries have made on collecting vital statistics and monitoring progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Of the estimated 56 million deaths globally in 2015, 27 million were registered with a cause of death, according to WHO’s annual World Health Statistics. In 2005, only about a third of deaths had a recorded cause.

Several countries have made significant strides towards strengthening the data they collect, including China, Turkey and the Islamic Republic of Iran, where 90% of deaths are now recorded with detailed cause-of-death information, compared with 5% in 1999.

Incomplete or incorrect information on those deaths that are registered also reduce the usefulness of those data for tracking public health trends, planning measures to improve health, and evaluating whether policies are working.

"If countries don’t know what makes people get sick and die, it’s a lot harder to know what to do about it," said Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation.

To learn more see the section about World Health Statistics 2017 on the WHO website.