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Total worldwide mortality increases from 55.64 million to 56.3m

26 April 2017

The World Health Organization has published the latest update of its Mortality Database, reporting that total worldwide mortality increased from 55.64 million in 2012 to 56.3M in 2015.

The Database is available online and contains mortality data by age, sex, and cause of death, as reported annually by UN Member States from their civil registration systems, as well as data on population and live births. Only medically certified deaths are recorded.

Deaths from communicable, maternal, perinatal and nutritional factors went down from 12.8M in 2012 to 11.94M in 2015, non-communicable disease deaths went up from 37.7M to 39.34, and deaths from injuries went down from 5.13M to 4.92M.

In terms of other major diseases needing palliative care, deaths from cancer increased from 8.155M to 8.7M, cardiovascular disease mortality went up from 17.45M to 17.63M, and deaths from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder went up from 3.095M to 3.16M, while deaths from HIV decreased from 1.53M to 1.06M.

Researchers regularly use this data to inform their studies, contributing to the knowledge base around diseases like cancer and HIV, or the need for hospice and palliative care.

Dr Stephen R. Connor, Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance Executive Director, said: "WHO Mortality data is the gold standard currently used to track causes of death and trends in health. 

"While it is very heartening to see the decline in HIV/AIDS death, overall due to continuing increases in noncommunicable diseases and the ageing of the world population we will continue to see more and often premature deaths. The relevance and need for palliative care globally is greater than ever and will only grow in the coming decades."

The Database is available on the WHO website

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