These comprehensive health profiles are intended to serve as a tool to monitor progress in the health of populations. Reliable and timely health information is essential for policy development, proper health management, evidence-based decision-making, rational resource allocation and monitoring and evaluation of the public health situation. While the demand for health information is increasing in terms of quantity, quality and levels of disaggregation, the response to these needs has been hampered because of fragmentation and major gaps and weaknesses in national health information systems.
WHO provides technical support to Member States to strengthen national health information systems and enable the generation of timely and reliable evidence to assess the health situation and trends, and the health system response, with special emphasis on 5 key regional priorities:
- health security and prevention and control of communicable diseases;
- noncommunicable diseases, mental health, violence and injuries, and nutrition;
- promoting health through the life-course;
- health systems strengthening; and
- preparedness, surveillance and response.
The strategic directions to address these priorities are broadly in line with WHO’s 12th General Programme of Work, the Programme Budget 2016–2017, endorsed in May 2015 by the 68th World Health Assembly, and the 5 strategic areas of work endorsed by the WHO Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean in 2012.