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Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Print version ISSN 0042-9686

Abstract

HUGHES, Barry B et al. Projections of global health outcomes from 2005 to 2060 using the International Futures integrated forecasting model. Bull World Health Organ [online]. 2011, vol.89, n.7, pp. 478-486. ISSN 0042-9686.  http://dx.doi.org/10.2471/BLT.10.083766.

OBJECTIVE: To develop an integrated health forecasting model as part of the International Futures (IFs) modelling system. METHODS: The IFs model begins with the historical relationships between economic and social development and cause-specific mortality used by the Global Burden of Disease project but builds forecasts from endogenous projections of these drivers by incorporating forward linkages from health outcomes back to inputs like population and economic growth. The hybrid IFs system adds alternative structural formulations for causes not well served by regression models and accounts for changes in proximate health risk factors. Forecasts are made to 2100 but findings are reported to 2060. FINDINGS: The base model projects that deaths from communicable diseases (CDs) will decline by 50%, whereas deaths from both non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries will more than double. Considerable cross-national convergence in life expectancy will occur. Climate-induced fluctuations in agricultural yield will cause little excess childhood mortality from CDs, although other climate-health pathways were not explored. An optimistic scenario will produce 39 million fewer deaths in 2060 than a pessimistic one. Our forward linkage model suggests that an optimistic scenario would result in a 20% per cent increase in gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, despite one billion additional people. Southern Asia would experience the greatest relative mortality reduction and the largest resulting benefit in per capita GDP. CONCLUSION: Long-term, integrated health forecasting helps us understand the links between health and other markers of human progress and offers powerful insight into key points of leverage for future improvements.

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