The World Health Organisation (WHO)'s World Health Report for the year 2000 faces health ministries head on, and refuses to take their data for granted. Instead, it makes its own statistical analysis of how well 191 different national health systems are functioning. Tables cover a wide range of indicators, but summing up performance into a single measure, the report ranks the massively costly US system way down the list.

WHO's Chris Murray - who with Julio Frenk created the conceptual framework that underpins the report - says the objective was to see "how well" each health system spent the money it had.

And judging by WHO Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland's introductory message, and the overview to the report, fairness and responsiveness to consumer demand were the key issues addressed by the measures. To do our own statistics, the words "fair" or "unfair", "fairness" or "unfairness" occur 14 times in these...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?