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Health at a Glance: Asia/Pacific 2018

Measuring Progress towards Universal Health Coverage

image of Health at a Glance: Asia/Pacific 2018

This fifth edition of Health at a Glance Asia/Pacific presents a set of key indicators of health status, the determinants of health, health care resources and utilisation, health care expenditure and financing and quality of care across 27 Asia-Pacific countries and territories. It also provides a series of dashboards to compare performance across countries, and a thematic analysis on health inequalities. Drawing on a wide range of data sources, it builds on the format used in previous editions of Health at a Glance, and gives readers a better understanding of the factors that affect the health of populations and the performance of health systems in these countries and territories. Each of the indicators is presented in a user-friendly format, consisting of charts illustrating variations across countries and over time, brief descriptive analyses highlighting the major findings conveyed by the data, and a methodological box on the definition of the indicator and any limitations in data comparability. An annex provides additional information on the demographic context in which health systems operate.

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Preterm birth and low birth weight

Preterm birth (i.e. birth before 37 completed weeks of gestation) is the leading cause of neonatal death during the first four weeks of life (days 0-28), and the second leading cause of death in children under 5 (see indicator “Under age 5 mortality” in ). Many survivors of preterm births also face a lifetime of disability, including learning disabilities and visual and hearing problems as well as long-term development. But preterm birth can be largely prevented. Three-quarters of deaths associated with preterm birth can be saved even without intensive care facilities. Current cost-effective interventions include kangaroo mother care (continuous skin to skin contact initiated within the first minute of birth), early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding (initiated within the first hour of birth) and basic care for infections and breathing difficulties (WHO, 2013; see indicator “Infant mortality” in ). Preterm birth rates can be also reduced if women, particularly adolescents, have better access to family planning and increased empowerment, as well as improved care and nutrition during pregnancies (see indicator “Family planning” in ).

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Graphs

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