The Global Health Observatory (GHO) created and maintained by the World Health Organization (WHO) can be described as follows:
- Contains health-related statistics for over 1000 indicators for almost 200 “Member States.” Many of these indicators are used to monitor progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- Has an organizational structure that is formed with the purpose of monitoring the SDGs, including the specific health-related indicators that are used to monitor the health aspects of the SDGs.
- Can be searched by theme, category, indicator or country.
- Contains metadata on most, if not all, of the indicators they provide access to.*
*This description is a paraphrased version of the description on the Global Health Observatory data repository “theme” page.
Available data file formats
Excel, CSV, HTML, JSON and XML.
This is an open data source that is for public use.
How to retrieve data by example
Suppose you are trying to understand tuberculosis (TB) in different areas of the world and you would like to access the raw data. Specifically, you would like to see the treatment success rate for new TB cases over the span of ten years and would like the data in a CSV file, which can be read into Excel. You would also like to geographically see this data, so as to compare the TB treatment success rate in different regions of the world.
- Go to the GHO website and scroll to the bottom of the page. There are six blue headings. Under the one that says GHO data & standards, click on the link that says Data repository. This will take you to the page with all of the themes listed in sections.
- Scroll down to section 3.3 Communicable diseases and click on Tuberculosis.
- The page lists topics. Click on the last topic, Treatment success. This will take you to a page with a table that includes various treatment success indicators, as sorted by year and country.
Note: you can also get to this page by clicking on Search, which is at the bottom of the legend on the left side of the screen of the Data repository main page, and by searching tuberculosis treatment success. This will take you to a search results page where you can click on the result that most closely describes what you are looking for. In this case, Tuberculosis > Treatment success would probably be closest.
- The page you are now on has options (at the top left, above the table) for filtering the data, where you can filter the presented table by country, year or indicator. The indicator of interest in this scenario would be Treatment success rate: new TB cases, so you can filter by that indicator alone if you wish.
- The top right, above the table, has options for downloading the data where you can select the file format. You can download either the filtered table, if you chose to filter it, or the complete data set that was originally provided. You decided to download the complete data set, so click on CSV table on the top right.
For more information on a specific indicator, click on the red “I” next to the indicator description at the top of the table. This will take you to a page with the associated metadata.
Once downloaded, you should now have access to the raw data on the treatment success rate of new TB cases for all given countries for 1995-2016 in a CSV file.
To geographically see this data and visually compare these indicators across different regions of the world, click on Interactive map at the top of the page across from Treatment success. This will open a new tab.
This new page allows for cross-year cross-country comparison by clicking on the given years at the bottom and the given countries on the map. You can also filter results or view more indicators and/or years by clicking on their respective buttons at the top left of the page. For example, the interactive map for Argentina in 2016 would look like this:
The chart can also be customized by using instructions provided under the Help tab on the top right of this page.
Be sure to consult with the source website on how to properly cite your data. For this scenario, the citation in APA format would be something similar to:
Global Health Observatory, World Health Organization (The 2018 update). Tuberculosis – Treatment Success [Data table]. Retrieved from http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.602?lang=en