Mettre la santé publique sur la carte

SEATTLE – Il y a vingt-cinq ans, l'état de la santé publique pour les grandes populations était comparable à celui d'un médecin qui s'efforce de traiter un patient sans diagnostic approprié. Les maladies et les blessures qui écourtaient la durée de vie et causaient de grandes souffrances n'étaient pas rigoureusement répertoriées.

À l'époque les porte-parole bien intentionnés de différentes maladies ont publié le nombre de morts, ce qui leur a permis de plaider leur cause et de bénéficier de financements. Mais en fin de compte, le total était bien des fois supérieur au nombre réel de personnes mortes sur une année donnée. Et même lorsque les décisionnaires disposaient de données précises, elles portaient d'habitude uniquement sur les causes de la mort, mais pas sur les maladies qui frappaient les vivants.

Pour trouver une solution à ce problème, Alan Lopez et moi avons lancé le projet Global Burden of Disease (Fardeau mondial de la maladie, ou GBD) en 1990. Les décideurs ont besoin d'informations sur les plus grandes menaces de santé du monde et sur leur évolution au fil du temps, entre les groupes d'âge, par sexe, afin de pouvoir assurer à tous une chance de vivre le plus longtemps possible et de jouir de la meilleure santé possible.

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