Expert group meeting on health, mortality and development

New York

10 November 2009 to 12 November 2009


The purpose of the meeting was twofold. First, in preparation for the forty-third session of the Commission on Population and Development, the meeting brought together experts and officials of inter-governmental organizations to discuss the challenges in combating the major causes of death and improving health, including consideration of how to strengthen health systems.

Second, building upon earlier United Nations Coordination Meetings on the Estimation of Adult Mortality held in 2006 and 2008, the meeting focused on methodological issues in the estimation of adult mortality and initiated a comparison and review of adult mortality estimates for selected countries as produced by different institutions. The issues and recommendations discussed during the meeting are reflected in this report.


Organization of work

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Session 1: Health 


Moderator: Philip Guest, Assistant Director, Population Division/DESA

  • Hania Zlotnik, Director, Population Division. Opening remarks



1. Global burden of disease and disease control priorities

  • Colin Mathers, World Health Organization. Global burden of disease and risk factors

  • Dean Jamison, IHME, University of Washington and Prabhat Jha, University of Toronto. The disease control priorities project 

  • Discussion and questions



2. Health systems and financing of global health

  • Paolo Piva, World Health Organization. Primary health care reforms: Aligning health systems to needs and expectations 

  • Andre Medici, World Bank. Reforming health systems for development

  • Discussion and questions



3. Reproductive health

  • Linda Bartlett, Johns Hopkins University. Why isn’t safe motherhood a reality for all pregnant women? 

  • Discussion and questions


Wednesday, 11 November 2009

4. Infectious and parasitic diseases 

  • Ramanan Laxminarayan, Princeton University. Prevention and treatment of infectious and parasitic diseases

  • Peter J. Hotez, George Washington University Medical Center. The development impact of the neglected tropical diseases 

  • Discussion and questions



5. Chronic and degenerative diseases

  •  Prakash Shetty, University of Southampton. Nutrition, lifestyles, obesity and chronic diseases 

  •  Thomas A. Gaziano, Harvard Medical School. The global burden of chronic diseases 

  •  Prabhat Jha, University of Toronto. Global mortality from tobacco 

  • Discussion and questions

  • Philip Guest, Assistant Director, Population Division. Summary and concluding remarks 



Session 2: Adult mortality


Moderator:  François Pelletier, Chief, Mortaity Section, Population Division/DESA

  • Francois Pelletier, Chief, Mortality Section, Population Division. Overview 



6. Methodological aspects to the estimation of adult mortality

  • Mie Inoue, World Health Organization. Overview of procedures used by WHO to generate life tables at the country level

  • Julie Knoll Rajaratnam, IHME, University of Washington. Evaluating methods to estimate the completeness of death registration 

  • Haidong Wang, IHME, University of Washington. An Improved Model Life Table System: Semi-parametric Method 

  • Julie Knoll Rajaratnam, IHME, University of Washington. Measuring adult mortality using sibling survival: A new analytical method and new results for 44 countries, 1974-2006 

  • Discussion and questions


Thursday, 12 November 2009

7. A review of adult mortality estimates at the country level

  • Representatives of WHO, IHME, the Population Division and others. Discussion will focus on adult mortality estimates by sex for selected countries.


8. Next steps and concluding remarks

  • François Pelletier, Chief, Mortality Section, Population Division. 


* See report.