The global burden of disease can be defined as the collective disease burden created by all the diseases from around the world. The Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) is a comprehensive research project taking place around the world to assess mortality and disability from illnesses, injuries, and certain risk factors.

The History of GBD

Commissioned in 1990, the GBD is a cooperative effort involving experts from around the world, including the World Health Organization, the Harvard School of Public Health, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, The University of Auckland School of Population Health, The World Bank, and hundreds of experts located around the globe.

The original project, beginning in 1990, appraised health gaps in eight different areas of the world by disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). It formed a standardized approach to epidemiological valuation and uses the disability-adjusted life year (DALY) as a standard unit to aid assessments.

Find out more about Global Burden of Disease HERE

The Goal of GBD

The goal of the GBD is to improve health care around the world. In order to do this, officials need to understand the nature of their own country’s health challenges, and how those challenges change over time. That means more than just approximating disease frequency, such as how many people suffer with depression or have diabetes in a populace. GBD research incorporates both the frequency of a specific disease or risk factor and the comparative damage it causes.

With more than 1,000 researchers involved in more than 100 countries, this consortium captures data about more than 300 diseases and injuries. It compares them according to age and sex, and allows comparisons over time. This information is used to study how different health problems are affected by socioeconomic status, regions, or ethnic groups in different countries.

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