A study conducted from 1990 to 2010 revealed major changes in the disease patterns of the Arab world where communicable diseases decreased and non-communicable diseases and injuries increased which is a challenge for the already stretched human and financial resources

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The state of health in the Arab world, 1990-2010: An analysis of the burden of diseases, injuries, and risk factors


Mokdad, A. H., Jaber, S., Abdel Aziz, M. I., Al Buhairan, F., Al Ghaithi, A., et al.


The Lancet

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Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; Public Health Institute, Khartoum, Sudan; King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Ministry of Public Health and Population, Sana’a, Yemen; Ministry of Health, Kuwait City, Kuwait; Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Kuwait City, Kuwait; Ministry of Health, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Ministry of Health, Muscat, Oman; United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates; Ministry of Health, Amman, Jordan; Public Health Agency of Canada, Toronto, ON, Canada; Ministry of Health, Damascus, Syria; Ministry of Health, Rabat, Morocco; Arabian Gulf University, AlManamah, Bahrain; National Institute of Public Health, Tunis, Tunisia; Supreme Council of Health, Doha, Qatar; University of Balamand, Balamand, Lebanon; Health Ministers’ Council for Cooperation Council States, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Baghdad College of Medicine, Baghdad, Iraq; Ministry of Health, Baghdad, Iraq; School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia



Geographically, the Arab world comprises 22 countries from north Africa to western Asia—ie, Algeria, Egypt, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, occupied Palestinian territory, Qatar, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan (including South Sudan), Syria, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates. These countries are the members of the League of Arab States.1 Each country has a unique set of historical, geopolitical, social, cultural, and economic characteristics, which determine its public health systems and the burden of disease and injury. Countries bordering the Persian Gulf—eg, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates—have a rising burden of occupational and road injuries because of the high number of expatriates who migrate for job opportunities. Noncommunicable diseases have increased substantially in the Arab world, with varying prevalence between different populations. Therefore, conclusions about the Arab world cannot be drawn from simple generalizations because they are likely to be misleading. The status of the health-care system in the Arab world has been reported previously. Public health systems are perceived as being non-productive and are low priority in national spending plans. Despite the resources in some Arab countries, the development and performance of their public health systems are lower than expected, with a continued focus on treatment rather than prevention. Progress in health care in the Arab world has been reported; however, it has been slow in some countries compared with others. In this study, we assess the burden of disease and injuries in the 22 Arab countries in 1990, 2005, and 2010 using data and methods from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010(GBD 2010) diagnoses or to disorders that were not likely to be the underlying cause of death were reassigned using standard algorithms. Standard simulation methods were used to generate 95% uncertainty intervals for cause of death estimates by taking 1000 draws for each age group, sex, country, year, and cause. These 95% uncertainty intervals reflect uncertainty in the levels of all-cause mortality for each age group, sex, country, and year and the uncertainty in the estimation of each cause of death for each age group, sex, country, and year.