Emergency medical diseases (EMDs) contribute to about half of all deaths and almost half of the burden of all diseases globally, according to a statistical analysis of information from nearly 200 countries published in the BMJ Global Health.
In one of the first studies of its kind, researchers analysed data from the 1990 and 2015 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) studies and developed and compared two indicators, emergency disease mortality rate (EDMR) and emergency disease burden (EDB), “to standardise, measure and rank the scope and scale of emergency care and deaths” at national, regional and global levels.
They found EMDs contributed to around 51 per cent of mortality and 42 per cent of all burden of diseases. The burden of EMDs was two to three times higher in low-income countries of Africa and Asia than in high-income countries.
Globally, injuries (22%), ischaemic heart disease (17%), lower respiratory tract infections (11%) and haemorrhagic stroke (7%) made up about 60 per cent of EMDs in 2015. Other conditions such as diarrhoeal diseases and malaria had a lower overall global burden but were more prevalent in low-income countries.