WHO Collaborating Centre for Surveillance of Cardiovascular Diseases  

Global Cardiovascular Infobase

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Global CVD Infobase

CVD Infobase (old version)

Last infobase updated:
March 03, 2006


We select data from three main sources:
  • official publications of international organizations such as United Nations, World Bank, World Health Organization and Ministries of Health from respective countries.
  • scientific journals.
  • ·personal contacts, typically scientists who have conducted surveys and who may have publications that are not widely available, e.g. doctoral dissertations, internal documents, etc. Such personal contacts can include you.

All data sources are identified in the Infobase. To obtain further information about source(s) on any particular data item, or if you can provide additional, new as well as corrected data, we would be pleased to hear from you.


Our data categories include:

The variables included in Infobase were chosen on the basis of their representativeness and usefulness in providing a profile of the situation regarding cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases in each country. These data are commonly used and routinely collected. As the needs and data collection practices change, Infobase will be updated to reflected the most appropriate and current situation.

Please see our copyright notice!


Countries Listed in Infobase

Whereas Infobase began with 193 countries with emerging economies, and Canada, all industrialized countries were added subsequently. Classification of the countries is based on the World Health Organization (WHO)’s groupings of member states and associate members, as well as the United Nations’ classification of countries by development region and geographical area found in their publication entitled World Population Prospects: The 1994 Revision, New York, United Nations, 1994. WHO uses classifications given by the United Nations in the World Economic and Social Survey 1996. The groupings are for analytical purposes and do not have any official status.

A country is considered "developed" not only on the basis of its national income but also on the basis of other aspects of daily living. Factors such as life expectancy, infant mortality, adult literacy, nutrition, health, shelter, political and civil rights, gender equality, and others are all considered.

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Population Data

Unless otherwise specified, population counts for the most recent intercensus year were obtained from the United Nations Population Division’s The Age and Sex Distribution of the World Populations: The 1994 Revision. New York, United Nations, 1994. Population estimates and projections are derived from country-specific latest census information, adjusted for under enumeration, and estimated subsequent trends of fertility, mortality and migration. Infobase presents total population projections and population density for 1995 according to the medium-fertility variants.

Population distribution data were extracted from the United Nations 1994 Demographic Yearbook, Forty-Sixth Issue. New York, United Nations, 1996. This variable represents the percentage of the total population that lives in an urban setting. The year of the data is indicated in the comments section, which also includes relevant details concerning methodology.

The United Nations’ publication entitled World Population Prospects: The 1994 Revision. New York, United Nations, 1994, provides data on population density, population growth, life expectancy and infant mortality. Projections for 1995-2000 for annual population growth, infant mortality and life expectancy are also based on the medium-fertility variant. A complete description of the data sources and demographic methods is available in the World Population Prospects document, mentioned above.

Infant mortality estimates and projections are based on births and deaths in each country, and are sometimes adjusted for under registration if applicable. In some countries where reliable data are not available, infant mortality was presumed in accordance with the national situation, taking into account demographic sample surveys previously conducted. In some cases, the demographic impact of AIDS has been factored into the estimate. Life expectancy at birth is based on country-specific life-tables of registered deaths adjusted for under registration and underlying population.

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Economic Data

Economic data such as Gross National Product (GNP) per capita, country rank by GNP, total health expenditure as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and percentage of population below poverty, derive from the World Bank’s 1997 World Development Indicators, Washington, D.C., 1997 for most countries included in Infobase.

The GNP is defined as "The unduplicated value of production by country-owned factors of production, regardless of where it takes place. GNP can be valued either at factor cost or at market prices." (Statistics Canada, System of National Accounts. National Economic and Financial Accounts. Quarterly Estimates. Fourth Quarter 1996, March 1997, Cat. No. 13-001-XPB.) The GNP per capita is converted to US dollars using the World Bank Atlas method described in World Development Indicators and is divided by the mid-year population in that country.

Country rank by GNP classifies countries according to the 1995 GNP per capita in the four following categories:

low income: $765 or less
lower middle income: $766-$3035
upper middle income: $3036-$9385
high income: $9386 and over

Development is not only a result of national income but also considers other aspects of daily living. For more details regarding the definition of a developed country, please refer to Countries Listed in Infobase.

GDP is defined as "the unduplicated value of production originating within the boundaries of a country, regardless of ownership of the factor of production. It can be calculated three ways, as total incomes earned in current production, as total final sales of current production, or as total net values added in current production, and it can be valued either at factor cost or at market prices." (Statistics Canada, System of National Accounts. National Economic and Financial Accounts. Quarterly Estimates. Fourth Quarter 1996, March 1997. Cat. No. 13-001-XPB.) Total health expenditure, as a percentage of GDP, represents outlays for the provision of health services, population and nutrition activities, and emergency aid. It excludes water and sanitation expenditures. Data are provided for the most recent year available between 1990 and 1995.

The percentage of the population occupied in agriculture is defined as all persons depending on agriculture, hunting or forestry for their livelihood. This includes the economically active as well as their dependants. This information was obtained from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s FAOSTAT Database.

The percentage of the population below the poverty line is defined by the authorities of each country. The estimates are based on population-weighted subgroup estimates from household surveys.

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Education Data

Most of the education data were obtained from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). In some cases, when data for a country were not available in UNESCO’s database, the data were extracted from their publication entitled World Education Report 1993, France, UNESCO Publishing, 1993.

UNESCO (1978) recognizes a person as literate when he/she "…can engage in all those activities in which literacy is required for effective functioning of his/her group and community and also for enabling him/her to continue to use reading, writing and calculation for his/her own and the community’s development." (Statistics Canada. Adult Literacy in Canada: Results of a National Study. Cat. No. 89-525E, 1991)

The adult illiteracy rate represents the percentage of illiterate adults, aged 15 years and over.

The secondary school gross enrolment represents the total percentage of the population enrolled in secondary education, regardless of age, and corresponds to the national system and regulations for this level of education as well as the duration of schooling for this level of education. (General Note, in UNESCO’s database.)

Some data were obtained directly from the Ministry of Education in the respective country and are identified in the Source section.

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Consumption Data

Consumption data for most countries were obtained from FAO’s FAOSTAT Database, which are also available on AGROSTAT-PC: FBS Domain computer disks.

Sugar consumption as total raw equivalent, is expressed as the per capita consumption in kilograms per year. These figures actually represent the average per capita supply of sugar available for the population. They are taken as an approximation to consumption and do not necessarily indicate individual consumption. Similarly, total fat consumption is given in grams per day, and daily caloric supply per capita is the average supply available for the population as a whole. (Concepts and Definitions used in commodity balances, in FAO’s FAOSTAT Database).

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Health Services

These data are included in Infobase to give an overview of relevant health services available in each country. Data for only a few variables are included to date. Efforts are being made to complete the missing information as much as possible.

The total number of hospital beds per 1000 population are given for countries in the Americas. This information was taken from a document prepared by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) entitled Health Situations in the Americas: Basic Indicators.

Correspondence received from a few countries has provided information on the total number of coronary care unit beds and the total number of intensive care unit beds.

Data on the total number of physicians and nurses were obtained for the Americas from PAHO’s Health Conditions in the Americas, 1994 Edition. Washington, D.C., PAHO: Scientific Publication No. 549.

Population per physician and per nurse were provided by the World Bank’s World Development Indicators 1997.

Correspondence with health authorities in some countries has provided information regarding the total number of cardiologists, the total number of adult cardiac catheterizations per year, the total number of angioplasties and of coronary bypass operations per year. Information was also obtained on cardiovascular societies and heart foundations, cardiovascular research centres, whether the country has a national cardiovascular policy or program, and, if applicable, identified the national coordinator for this policy or program. The World Heart Federation   (formerly The International Society and Federation of Cardiology) was also helpful in identifying societies and foundations in many countries.

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Mortality data were obtained from the World Health Organization World Health Statistics Annual, the 1985 to 1995 editions. The number of deaths are presented, by sex, age and cause. The WHO receives official national statistics from the appropriate authorities of each country.

The data are based on the Ninth Revision of the Manual of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, Injuries and Causes of Death (1975), Geneva, WHO, 1977.

Only countries for which death registration coverage is deemed reasonably good are included in the WHO mortality data bank. For this, death registration must be near universal, the death record must routinely include the cause of death, and death must be determined by a qualified person according to an internationally recognized classification. "Comparability of the data is affected by the availability and training of medical personnel, the availability of diagnostic aids, and other factors." (Lopez AD. Assessing the burden of mortality from cardiovascular diseases. World Health Statistics Quarterly. 46(2):91-6, 1993). For more information regarding the methodology of the mortality data collection and death registration coverage, please consult the WHO World Health Statistics Annual 1995.

The country-specific death rates presented in Infobase are generated using the age-specific numbers of death and the population data for the year closest to the year of the mortality data.

The age-standardized rates are automatically generated using the standard "new world" population based on the United Nations World Population Prospects 1990, New York, United Nations, 1991, as used by WHO.

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Risk Factors

Prevalence information for the major risk factors for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases is included in Infobase. These risk factors include diabetes mellitus, hypertension, obesity, smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and lipids. The data sources for risk factors are numerous. The availability of studies varies from country to country. Priority is given to obtain data from national prevalence surveys. However, when available, provincial/state or local prevalence studies are also included.

An effort is made to make each country profile as complete as possible. The data are presented as they are given in the data source. For each data source, relevant details on methodology are given in the "Comments" section if applicable.

The risk factor database is not exhaustive. We would appreciate receiving any data you might have that is not currently included in Infobase. Please communicate with us using the "Contact Us" button in the Main Menu.

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Due to lack of adequate surveys on the prevalence of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases in the general population, collecting morbidity data is especially difficult. Hospital separations or admissions data are often used to estimate morbidity. However, this information is limited and does not account for all cases occurring in the general population. In addition, numerators are often provided (i.e. numbers of hospitalizations) without clear denominators to calculate rates. Nevertheless, these data are often collected and may be the only indication of morbidity. Methodological limitations are acknowledged in the Comments section.

This section is still under construction. We welcome any suggestions and comments.

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We respect all copyright entitlements and do not wish to violate anyone's rights. In abstracting data from all sources we have carefully screened for any prohibitions and where necessary we have sought to obtain permission. None of the formats for display of data are intended to replicate or imitate any pre-existing publications. No tables or graphs have been copied intentionally. We do acknowledge all data sources, where the user can verify the integrity of the data we display and obtain additional information.

We are a non-profit organization and we have no commercial interests with this endeavour.

Should there be any questions about possible infringements, we would appreciate being contacted so that the situation can be rectified immediately.

It is our hope that data made available in Infobase will be found useful for scientific purposes as well as to help develop relevant health policies. However, we do not guarantee the accuracy of the data nor do we assume responsibility for any consequences resulting from the use of data contained herein.

Map boundaries are the property of ESRI Inc. and do not reflect any judgment on our part of the legality of any boundary. Our designation of WHO Regions and the countries belonging to each Region is in keeping with the most recent listing, approved by the General Assembly of World Health Organization, that is available to us.



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Global Cardiovascular Infobase ( http://www.cvdinfobase.ca )
WHO Collaborating Centre on Surveillance of Cardiovascular Diseases,
Surveillance and Risk Assessment Division, CCDPC, Public Health Agency of Canada
The Ottawa Hospital, University of Ottawa
Ottawa, CANADA
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