Measuring Global Health<sup>1</sup>

Kristin Voigt

in Health Inequalities and Global Justice

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780748646920
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780748676682 | DOI:
Measuring Global Health1

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Summary measures of population health combine information about morbidity and premature mortality within a single ‘metric’. Particularly prominent at the international level is the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, which uses disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) to quantify the disease burden resulting from different health conditions across the world. The GBD researchers emphasise that when health indicators gain prominence, it is inevitable that they influence policy debates and decisions. In particular, we must anticipate how health measures could lead to unfair decisions with respect to resource allocation or priority-setting and attempt to prevent such effects. This chapter focuses on the influence that such concerns have had on the development of the GBD methodology. I also consider different strategies for enhancing the DALY's role as a tool in policy decisions and outline the direction implicit in recent revisions of the GBD methodology.

Keywords: health measurement; disability-adjusted life-year (DALY); global health; resource allocation; Global Burden of Disease (GBD)

Chapter.  6643 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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