Groundbreaking Data for Health Program to Expand, Reach More Countries and People

Less than half of all deaths around the world are registered with a cause. As a result, more than 29 million deaths go unrecorded each year. To help strengthen the quality of birth and death registrations, Bloomberg Philanthropies, along with partners including the CDC Foundation, today announced the next four-year phase of the innovative Data for Health initiative.

According to Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, Data for Health “…has had a lot of success, collecting over three million death records so far and helping countries better understand the public health challenges they face. Now we’re answering the call to expand our efforts.”

Importantly, Data for Health, which launched in 2015, partners with governments in low- and middle-income countries to strengthen the availability of public health data and improve how they use information to make policy decisions that can improve and save lives. With the additional $120 million in funding over four years, Data for Health will expand from 20 to 25 countries, ultimately reaching 1.5 billion people. Select countries will also monitor noncommunicable disease risk factors, like tobacco use, through mobile phone surveys.

In today’s announcement, our President and CEO Judy Monroe, MD, reflected on the CDC Foundation’s role in this vital effort: “With continued support from Bloomberg Philanthropies and other key partners, we will be able to amplify our previous work and continue building countries’ capacity to use data for developing policies and communicating the most pressing public health issues to key audiences.”

As part of the next phase of Data for Health, the CDC Foundation will build on its work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and country governments to improve death registration systems and cause of death information. Additionally, the Foundation will build on this work by implementing mobile phone noncommunicable disease surveys and improve staff capacity to use health data through policy and scientific communications training programs and the development of national public health bulletins.

Our team at the CDC Foundation is proud to continue our work with Bloomberg Philanthropies, CDC and other partners to minimize critical gaps in health and mortality data that create challenges for governments in many countries as they seek to interpret and address public health problems. It’s exciting to know our team is a part of this larger effort that is saving lives across the world.



Michelle Panneton, MPH, is a senior program officer for the CDC Foundation.