WHO/Europe and IHME sign agreement cementing collaboration on forecasting of health data

Published February 7, 2022

Issued via WHO

WHO/Europe and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) have signed a memorandum of understanding cementing their ongoing collaboration in the areas of health estimates, projections and global health data forecasting.

IHME, an independent research centre within the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, United States of America, has a long-standing partnership with WHO, most notably on the Global Burden of Disease series of studies.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO/Europe has increasingly referenced IHME forecasts in providing guidance and recommendations to countries in the WHO European Region as they work to contain the pandemic, including the most recent Omicron wave.

“The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation produces pioneering public health estimates and projections, which have proved invaluable during the pandemic to improve our understanding and anticipate regional and global trends,” said Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “With this agreement, we will be able to build further capacity in data analytics and shape the future of global health data together.”

Hans Kluge holding newly signed memorandum of understanding

“This pandemic has demonstrated the need for rigorous real-time analysis that can support decision-makers as they respond to emergencies,” said Dr Christopher Murray, Director of IHME. “By deepening our partnership with WHO/Europe we can ensure data flows more freely and European leaders have fast access to analysis of health threats in their region.”

Through this new agreement, WHO/Europe will continue to support countries as they strengthen their capacity on data analysis, modelling and forecasting methods. WHO/Europe will also put in place workshops for training and joint planning and implementation of projects.

Health projections in the upcoming European Health Report 2021

The next edition of WHO/Europe’s flagship publication, the European Health Report, published every 3 years since 2012, will include a supplement with health projections – based on IHME forecasts.

These projections will help assess whether the WHO European Region is on track towards reaching the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, for different scenarios across 12 SDG indicators.

“This expertise will be essential as countries continue their work to improve people’s health and strengthen health systems, as we move through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” Dr Kluge added.

The report’s expected publication is at the end of February 2022.