October 1, 2007 (Vol. 27, No. 17)


Strong Points: Wealth of health statistics worldwide
Weak Points: Poor implementation for guests

When it comes to the health of the world, what better place to get information than the World Health Organization. Well d-uh. With a philosophy of “You want stats? We’ve got stats,” the WHO provides an overwhelming mixture of data of the status of health and health provision worldwide. Access to information is via a database where users can specify numerous parameters such as country, disease type, health care providers, etc. In my hands, the interface was clunky at best. Though the searches generally returned some information, attempts to plot it via the graphing function or to map it produced no results. The link to interactive maps produced no results, and a similar result was obtained with the link to reports. It looks like this site could be a great resource for health professionals, but I have to wonder how many of them would be willing to put up with such a nonfunctional interface. I note that logging into an account appears to provide additional access, so that may be the ticket to overcoming some of the obstacles I encountered as a guest. Nevertheless, it needs fixing.