International Comparisons (2017)


Statistical comparisons are important resources for the comparative study of health systems.

The following comparative tables have been extracted from WHO’s Global Health Observatory (the selected countries are somewhat arbitrary).  See:

The key questions are:

  • Where are we different?
  • Why are we different (look for correlations)?
  • What is the significance of such differences?

Interactive on line resources

Gapminder and WorldMapper are unique interactive online resources.  Unfortunately they are both somewhat out of date. 

Gapminder enables the user to correlate different data sets.  Unfortunately the data are out of date; none more recent than 2010.  Try:

  • GDP pc vs LE (log vs linear)
  • THE (pc) vs GDP (pc) (log)
  • IMR vs GDP (pc) log
  • IMR vs Gov % THE (linear)

World Mapper provides interesting pictures but the data are out of date (none more recent than 2005)

WHO’s Global Health Observatory

WHO’s global health observatory is the most complete collection.

The WHO GHO Data Repository provides useful data although it is a frustrating platform.

Sustainable development goals

The United Nations has adopted the SDGs as a tool for driving towards a more convivial and sustainable world.  

Each of the SDGs has a Goal, a number of Targets and a further number of Indicators. 

See the World Bank SDGs site for indicator data on all of the SDGs.

See also WHO’s summary of indicator data on the Health-related SDGs.

Universal health cover

One on the health-related SDGs is the goal for ‘universal health cover’.  The indicator data for this goal are available at the WHO UHC Data Portal.

Health systems and policies

The health systems observatories provide narrative descriptions of different health systems which are periodically revised. 

The oldest of these observatories is the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies.  See also the Health systems policy monitor.

The Asia Pacific Observatory on Health Systems and Policies has sponsored a number of health system descriptions for the Asia and Pacific area. 

See also the health system profiles published by the Commonwealth fund, the publisher of the journal Health Affairs.