- The growing demand for reliable data to monitor progress in health has highlighted the need to strengthen the way estimates for health indicators are generated.
- Global health estimation work should meet agreed standards of transparency, scientific rigour, and accessibility. Current work under the aegis of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other United Nations agencies needs to be strengthened to meet these standards, in close collaboration with academic institutions.
- WHO is well positioned to continue to play a lead role in statistical estimation work because of its constitutional mandate, its accountability to member states, its ability to mobilize global expertise, and its unique position to generate productive interactions between global monitoring and country information systems.
- Countries would benefit most from global collaborative efforts that include support for data collection, sharing of data, development of scientific methods of estimation, publication of estimates, development of estimation tools, and country capacity strengthening.
This paper is part of a PLoS Medicine cluster of articles discussing the current state of global health estimates and debating the way into the future.