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Over 50pc of global deaths ‘have no known cause’


More than half of all deaths have no recorded cause, making effective health monitoring and policymaking far more difficult, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Wednesday.

However, improved collection of statistics meant that 27 million of the world’s 56 million estimated deaths in 2015 were registered with a cause compared with only about a third in 2005, the UN health agency’s latest global health report said.

The WHO said several countries, including China and Turkey, had made “significant strides” in data collection. In Iran, it said, 90 per cent of deaths are now recorded with details of the causes, compared with 5 per cent in 1999.

While things have improved significantly in recent years, many countries still do not routinely collect high-quality health data, Marie-Paule Kieny, the WHO’s assistant director-general for health systems and innovation, said.

The WHO is working with countries to strengthen health information systems and data quality, she said.