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World lacks proper systems to track deaths, WHO says

Image: US Mission Geneva [CC BY-ND 2.0] via Flickr

Countries must keep better track of mortality and spread of false information, says UN agency

Most nations lack proper systems to keep track of deaths, the World Health Organization has warned, underscoring the need for better data on health amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic has stretched the capacity of country health information systems around the world, as they must track both the disease and other critical health trends,” said the UN agency’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Only 57 of the 133 countries reviewed had a “well-developed” or “sustainable” system to keep track of deaths, a 1 February WHO report states. Eighteen countries had a “moderate” system in place, 21 had “limited” systems and 37 had “nascent” systems.

In addition to better data to support pandemic responses, countries also need to measure the impacts of the ongoing “infodemic” of false information, the WHO said. In a separate report, the agency published its health research agenda for managing infodemics, urging better monitoring and new interventions to counter the spread of false information.