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Is It Time to Reassess the Categorization of Disease Burdens in Low-Income Countries?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Philip Setel, Professor Nigel Unwin, Dr David Whiting


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The classification of disease burdens is an important topic that receives little attention or debate. One common classification scheme, the broad cause grouping, is based on etiology and health transition theory and is mainly concerned with distinguishing communicable from noncommunicable diseases. This may be of limited utility to policymakers and planners. We propose a broad care needs framework to complement the broad cause grouping. This alternative scheme may be of equal or greater value to planners. We apply these schemes to disability-adjusted life year estimates for 2000 and to mortality data from Tanzania. The results suggest that a broad care needs approach could shift the priorities of health planners and policymakers and deserves further evaluation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Setel PW, Saker L, Unwin NC, Hemed Y, Whiting DR, Kitange H

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: American Journal of Public Health

Year: 2004

Volume: 94

Issue: 3

Pages: 384-388

ISSN (print): 0090-0036

ISSN (electronic): 1541-0048


DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.94.3.384

PubMed id: 14998800