Where you live shouldn’t determine whether you live. But too often it does. The average child born in a high-income country today will live nearly 18 years longer than a child born in a low-income country.

This is not a coincidence. Health and well-being are inextricably linked with poverty.

Increasing access to health services and life-saving tools, like vaccines and medicine, in low-income countries has the potential to improve lives and help disrupt this cycle of poverty.

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Data visualisations by
Hero Health

Key Numbers

  • In 2022, there were 630,000 AIDS-related deaths globally, a decrease of over 4% from the previous year and a decrease of 69% from the peak in 2004.
  • As of 16 July 2024, the global COVID-19 vaccination rate (2 doses) is64.9%. Only 32.4% of Africans have been fully vaccinated, below the 70% target.
  • In 2021, an estimated 619 thousand people died from malaria. 96% were in Africa, totaling 593 thousand deaths.

Causes of death in low-income countries

Globally, about 60 million people die each year. But why people die and what risk factors lead to early death varies dramatically between countries. Non-communicable diseases, like chronic or cardiovascular conditions account for the majority of deaths in higher-income countries while infectious diseases are still among the leading causes of death in low- and lower-middle-income countries. These diseases are also more likely to be associated with early death despite being completely preventable and treatable. Expanding access to primary health care and scaling interventions for the biggest diseases killers in low- and lower-middle income countries would save lives now and increase life expectancy over time.

Leading causes of death by income group

This chart shows the top ten leading causes of death in 2019 by income group. Six of the top 10 causes of death in low-income countries are preventable infectious diseases.

These deaths are concentrated in the world’s poorest countries. Only one of these conditions (lower respiratory infections) appears in the top 10 for higher-income groups.

Hover over each disease or condition on the chart for more details.



The global response to HIV/AIDS is a model for what’s possible when political will and funding are consistently directed toward a global health crisis. At its peak in 2004, AIDS was killing almost 5,479 people every day and new HIV infections doubled each year. Today that number has been reduced to 1,726 deaths a day. In 2022, 39.0 million people were living with HIV around the world, 53% of whom are women and girls.  

The global AIDS epidemic is still growing at an alarming pace. In 2022, 1.3 million people were newly infected with HIV globally. The pace of progress is well short of where it needs to be to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.


For millions of people around the world, a mosquito bite can have deadly consequences. About 94% of malaria cases and 95% of malaria deaths occur in the WHO African Region; just four African countries accounted for half of all malaria deaths worldwide (Nigeria, DRC, Uganda, Mozambique). While control measures such as indoor residual spraying with insecticides, insecticide-treated bed nets, and antimalarial drugs have successfully reduced malaria cases and deaths, insecticide- and drug-resistance is a growing threat in the response to malaria. Two promising new malaria vaccine are being rolled out and could dramatically increase protection if successfully scaled up alongside other proven prevention methods.

Deaths from malaria

This chart shows the estimated number of malaria deaths in the countries and regions with the highest burden of malaria compared with the rest of the world.

Hover over the chart for additional details.


Vaccines are one of the most cost-effective investments in health and development in history. They safely prevent sickness and death associated with infectious diseases and contribute to broader gains in education and economic development. But 1.5 million people are still dying from vaccine-preventable diseases. And climate change, conflict and urbanisation are together making it easier for infectious disease outbreaks to spread-putting more people, particularly children, at risk for preventable diseases like measles and polio.

In 2021, for the first time in three decades, global vaccination coverage among children declined, largely driven by disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict, displacement, and increasing vaccine misinformation. And, while some recovery was seen in 2022, progress stalled in 2023. As a result, 21 million children missed out on one or more life-saving vaccines in 2023.

Diphtheria tetanus toxoid and pertussis (DTP3) immunisation

This chart shows coverage of the diphtheria tetanus toxoid and pertussis (DTP3) vaccine, which is considered a proxy for routine childhood immunisation. A child who receives all three doses before turning one likely has regular access to health services. Globally, coverage of DTP3 has improved dramatically in the last 20 years.

Hover over the chart for additional details.

Health expenditure

Over the past 20 years, total health spending has grown across all income levels, from US$4.4 trillion in 2000 to US$9.8 trillion in 2021, but a closer look at the major sources of financing reveals some concerning trends: international support from donor countries is stagnant, domestic resources are not keeping pace with need, and people in low- and lower-middle income countries are too often forced to pay for essential health services out of their own pockets.

Out-of-pocket spending is the primary source of health financing among low- and lower-middle income countries