Michael Bloomberg Backs Project to Collect Foreign Health Data

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is backing a new project that will collect basic health data for countries in Africa, southeast Asia, and Latin America.

Bloomberg’s foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, is partnering with the Australian government on the four-year project. It will cost $100 million and focus on 20 countries.

The project’s goal is to help gather information regarding births and deaths, along with risk factors that lead to premature deaths.

According to a press release on the foundation’s website, 35 million deaths every year — 65 percent of all worldwide deaths — are not reported. Further, the foundation says that “millions more [deaths] lack a documented cause.”

Called the Data for Health Initiative, the program will help provide better reporting tools to healthcare organizations, local governments, and aid organizations.

“Reliable data is absolutely essential to problem solving, and nowhere is it more important than in public health,” Bloomberg said in the release. “This new program will greatly enhance our understanding of the public health challenges we face — and greatly improve our ability to address them. We’ve set an ambitious goal, and working together with the Australian government, we believe we can meet it.”