Rohina and Abraham

Data, science and achieving the sustainable development goals

On 15th of October 2019 The George Institute for Global Health held a panel discussion, ‘Data, science and achieving the sustainable development goals’ featuring two leading experts, Associate Professors Abraham Flaxman (IMHE) and Rohina Joshi (UNSW). The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 3 aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

It includes ambitious and important targets for reducing maternal mortality, lowering child mortality, and a reduction in premature deaths due to non-communicable disease by 2030. The challenge is that access to reliable information differs around the world, particularly in low and middle income countries.

Following their presentations at the American Association for Advancement of Science Annual Meeting earlier this year, this session looked at ways health researchers, policy makers and the community are working together to improve data quality about who is dying, where, and from what. Rohina started by discussing verbal autopsy methods and her experience in conducting large scale verbal autopsy studies, explaining that this has the potential to improve health systems information systems in low and middle income countries. Abraham further elaborated on improving health information systems as he discussed an exciting new data collection scale which is currently under way, where new data and analytics, and human-computer collaboration will provide comprehensive monitoring efforts to bend the curve. He also explained the Global Burden of Disease Study which is an ongoing effort to integrate all available data and produce estimates of who is sick with what and where  and therefore can SDGs be attained given the current scale of interventions.