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Indicator details

License Type
CC BY-4.0
Indicator Name
Cause of death, by communicable diseases and maternal, prenatal and nutrition conditions (% of total)
Long definition
Cause of death refers to the share of all deaths for all ages by underlying causes. Communicable diseases and maternal, prenatal and nutrition conditions include infectious and parasitic diseases, respiratory infections, and nutritional deficiencies such as underweight and stunting.
Derived based on the data from Global Health Estimates 2020: Deaths by Cause, Age, Sex, by Country and by Region, 2000-2019. Geneva, World Health Organization; 2020. Link:
Social: Health & Nutrition
Aggregation method
Weighted average
Statistical concept and methodology
Data on cause of death are compiled by the WHO, based mainly on data from national vital registry systems, as well as sample registration systems, population laboratories, and epidemiological analysis of specific conditions. Data are classified based on the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th revision. Data have been carefully analyzed to take into account incomplete coverage of vital registration and the likely differences in cause of death patterns that would be expected in undercovered and often poorer subpopulations. Special attention has also been paid to misattribution or miscoding of causes of death in cardiovascular diseases, cancer, injuries, and general ill-defined categories. For further information, consult the original source.
Limitations and exceptions
The limited availability of data on health status is a major constraint in assessing the health situation in developing countries. Surveillance data are lacking for many major public health concerns. Estimates of prevalence and incidence are available for some diseases but are often unreliable and incomplete. National health authorities differ widely in capacity and willingness to collect or report information. To compensate for this and improve reliability and international comparability, the World Health Organization (WHO) prepares estimates in accordance with epidemiological models and statistical standards.
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