About the Global Burden of Disease (GBD)

The GBD approach

The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) is a systematic, scientific effort by a collaborative of researchers worldwide to quantify the comparative magnitude of health loss to diseases, injuries, and risk factors by age, sex, and geography over time. It is the most comprehensive effort to date to measure epidemiological levels and trends around the world, and its most recent iteration measures the impact of hundreds of diseases, injuries, and risk factors in 187 countries. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington is the coordinating center for this effort.

The principle guiding the GBD approach is that the best estimates can only be generated by analyzing all available sources of information in an area and correcting for problems with the data. The results are presented in terms of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), a time-based measure that combines years of life lost due to premature mortality (YLLs) and years lived with a disability (YLDs), metrics that were specifically developed to assess the burden of disease. 

Who GBD helps

The GBD collaborative is creating a global public good that decision-makers will use to design better health systems and to improve public health policy. More than a research study, the GBD approach is a platform for comparative assessment that provides a set of measurement tools that countries can use to track changes in population health, identify successes, and address health challenges.
GBD aims to bring new attention to a broader range of illnesses and conditions having an impact on health worldwide and to help guide new target-setting exercises for health improvement. It also provides a framework and knowledge that can advance efforts to develop and implement truly effective health interventions. 

More information about IHME’s partnerships with research institutions, country governments, non-governmental organizations, and donors can be found on the Country-level Collaborations page.

The future of GBD

IHME intends to grow the GBD collaborative by reaching out to researchers who are advancing the field of health metrics in countries around the world. Similarly, IHME and its collaborators hope to expand the list of diseases, injuries, and risk factors included in GBD and routinely update the GBD estimates. Continual updates will ensure that individual countries and the international community can have access to high-quality estimates in the timeliest fashion. 
Through sound measurement, GBD can continue to provide the foundational evidence that will lead to improved population health.
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