2014 marks 100 years since the start of the First World War. As all around Europe, the British government made extensive plans to commemorate this accordingly (Prime Minister David Cameron’s words of the commemoration saying something about the British people like the Diamond Jubilee celebration were commented critically, while meanwhile commercial advertisers have discovered the emotional power of World War I). So-called Remembrance Day in November saw the display of a poppy field at the Tower of London as a commemoration of soldiers who died in war, a symbol which was introduced following the aftermath of World War I in 1921. But while today’s times are often referred to as the post-war era since the end of World War II, wars keep being fought, and soldiers from countries such as the United Kingdom keep dying in conflicts around the world. Last months the Independent Newspaper published figures from the UK Ministry of Defence (which I spotted on one of Alan Parkinson’s blogs) listing all 7,145 British military deaths since World War Two (including a count of deaths in Northern Ireland). I used that data and edited it according to today’s geography (such as splitting the number of British casualties during the 1950-1954 UN intervention in Korea equally between South and North Korea or assigning the deaths in the former British colonies to today’s independent countries) to draw the following Worldmapper-style cartogram that shows how far we are from living in a post-war era:
As stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “the 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa”. Since the first map series published here in August, an additional 5367 cases and 2294 deaths have occurred, resulting in a total case count of 7492 and a total number of deaths of 3439 for the current outbreak according to the most recent updated published on October, 3rd. These significant changes change the shapes of the cartograms published six weeks ago, not least because the current outbreak exceeds all previous Ebola cases counted since 1977, as the following maps show using the most recent data:
The recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has not been brought under control since it became part of international attention early 2014. As of 15 August the suspected and confirmed cases added up to 2127, leading to 1145 deaths in the region (source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
The outbreak is not only unusual in its absolute numbers of cases and deaths (before the current outbreak a total of 2387 cases and 1590 deaths have been recorded by the World Health Organization since the virus was discovered in 1976), but also in its geographical patterns: While WHO obervations in the past mainly occurred in the tropical regions of Sub-Saharan Africa (affecting mainly Congo, DR Congo, Gabon, Sudan and Uganda), the current and by far largest outbreak is observed in the previously unaffected countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and (less servere) Nigeria). The following map shows not only that Ebola is restricted to Africa, but to a very small part of the continent. It shows the countries of the world resized in a Worldmapper-style cartogram according to the total number of cases in each country in 2014 (to date):To put the outbreak into further context, the following maps show the death counts of all Ebola outbreaks to date, as well as two split maps of deaths in 2014 and pre-2014: Continue reading
Global inequalities in health find their expression in a wide range of issues that start in the very early ages of a person’s life. Children are most at risk, as health-related problems can have implications on the rest of their life – if they survive childhood at all. Finding the Final Fifth: Inequalities in Immunisation is the title of a new report published by Save the Children in partnership with ACTION and endorsed by the World Health Organisation.
The report takes a closer look at health inequalities related to immunisation coverage. With children being highly vulnerable, no access to immunisation is one of the preventable causes of death. Further efforts such as the Global Vaccine Action Plan (pdf) are needed to tackle the problem. “Reaching the hard-to-reach must be a priority for all countries“, concludes Save the Children in a statement prior to the 65th World Health Assembly where these issues were on the agenda.
The Worldmapper project contributed a cartogram series to the report, looking at some of the data that Save the Children used in its findings. The data shows how access to health and immunisation compares to mortality rates of children and how this data gives an indication of the prevailing global inequalities. We created four maps, of which three were included in the report (the following maps are modified version of these maps). All of the maps show the countries resized according to the total number of people for each topic that is visualised (i.e. these images work like a cartographic version of a pie chart). The original data sources are given in the report (download link see below). The first map shows the mortality of under-five year old children:
In a report released by the Landmine Monitor it is stated that landmine use is ‘highest since 2004′ despite record clearances. While with Burma (Myanmar), Israel, Lybia and Syria, four of the 20% of countries who did not sign an international treaty to stop the use of land mines, continued to use new devices this year (and further armed groups in countries such as Afghanistan, Colombia and Pakistan also laid new mines, as reported by the BBC), the deadly impact of these weapons reaches further than those countries. Continue reading
People are dying all the time. Wars are just one of the many causes of death, but certainly one of the more avoidable ones. WHO’s Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study is the key publication containing global health statistics which can help to understand the relevance of geography in relation to the mortality patterns and the prevalence of certain diseases. Continue reading