Urban health observatory

In 2011, WHO launched the Global Health Observatory which is a gateway to health statistics on global public health priorities. The “Urban health” theme developed by WHO Kobe Centre presents data on 16 indicators for 45 countries. Data is presented in the form of global situation and trends, graphs and maps, and country profiles.

WHO Kobe Centre is working with partners to expand the scope and content of the current observatory. The updated observatory aspires to be a one-stop shop for data, research and knowledge, and as a repository to recognize the achievements of urban health actors.


Currently, we are focused on analyzing multi-country data that is both reliable and comparable. Our key data sources are:

1. Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS)
DHS data are focused on demographic, maternal and child health, and specific diseases e.g. HIV, malaria. The data has been collected through 260 surveys in over 90 countries and are reputed to be accurate and representative. Datasets are accessible to the public on request.

2. World Health Surveys (WHS)
WHS was conducted in 2002-03 and covers a broad variety of public health priority issues. This survey is useful in providing comparable and reliable baseline urban health information for 70 countries. Datasets are accessible to the public on request.

3. World Mental Health (WMH) Survey
The WMH Survey Initiative provides cross-national information for 28 countries about the prevalence and correlates of mental, substance and behavioral disorders. Although data on some cities are available, access to the data is restricted and requires permission from national and international authorities.

4. WHO Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE)
SAGE is a longitudinal survey programme to compile comprehensive information on the health and well-being of adult populations and the ageing process. The surveys have been conducted in six countries - China, Ghana, India, Mexico, Russian Federation and South Africa. Access to data is available on request.

Contact us

World Health Organization Centre for Health Development
1-5-1 Wakinohama-Kaigandori
Chuo-ku, Kobe 651-0073
Telephone: (+81) 78-230-3100
Fax: (+81) 78-230-3178
Email: wkc@who.int