Data Visualization

Blog of the Data Visualization & Communication Course at OSB-AUB

This is my favorite part about analytics: Taking boring flat data and bringing it to life through visualization” John Tukey

Turning the Tide: Lebanon’s Battle Against Non-Communicable Diseases

Turning the Tide: Lebanon’s Battle Against Non-Communicable Diseases

Silent Killers in the Cedar Land: Lebanon’s Battle Against the NCD Epidemic

In the heart of the Mediterranean, Lebanon, a country renowned for its rich culture and history, is facing a modern-day health crisis that is silently reshaping its society. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), once considered ailments of the affluent, are now the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in Lebanon, transcending economic and social boundaries. From the bustling streets of Beirut to the serene landscapes of the Beqaa Valley, the specter of NCDs looms large, affecting young and old alike. This urgent health challenge calls for innovative solutions and a collective commitment to change, both from the government and its citizens. A journey into this topic began with a simple question: Can Lebanon turn the tide against these silent killers? In this exploration, we unravel the threads of Lebanon’s health crisis and seek to uncover strategies that could pave the way for a healthier, more resilient future.

Mortality’s Rising Tide: Unveiling the Causes Behind Lebanon’s Health Crisis
Lebanon stands at a critical juncture, with the specter of non-communicable diseases casting long shadows over its future. The data reveals a hard truth: a surge in cardiovascular diseases leads the charge, followed closely by the silent spread of cancers and respiratory conditions. Kidney and liver diseases also claim their share of lives, while drug-related disorders sketch a worrying trend of increasing substance abuse. These aren’t just numbers; they’re echoes of individual stories and collective challenges that Lebanon must urgently address. But what are the underlying causes of this health crisis, and how can Lebanon’s policies adapt to confront them effectively?

Do you think that’s the whole picture? Think again—there’s more beneath the surface of Lebanon’s health crisis.

A Silent Tide: The Visual Tale of Lebanon’s NCDs Tragedy
Lebanon’s health crisis, as quantified in stark data visualizations, can be traced to a constellation of lifestyle and environmental factors that demand a nuanced examination. The nation’s predilection for high-sodium diets is leading to alarmingly high rates of hypertension, a silent precursor to more dire health complications. Concurrently, obesity is becoming increasingly prevalent, laying the groundwork for a myriad of chronic health conditions. The entrenched smoking culture contributes to a significant burden of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Elevated cholesterol levels, indicative of dietary imbalances, pose additional risks for heart health. Air pollution, with its insidious effects, exacerbates the incidence of asthma and other respiratory disorders. Additionally, the rising trend of drug use introduces complex challenges, both medical and social. These factors, specific and interrelated, underpin the NCD problem in Lebanon, underscoring the urgent need for comprehensive public health strategies and interventions.

Crafting a Healthier Lebanon: A Government-Led Crusade Against NCDs
In an ambitious move to tackle the NCD crisis, the Lebanese government is poised to roll out a detailed strategy that resonates with urgency and hope. This plan hinges on introducing impactful health policies, such as the imposition of taxes on tobacco and sugary foods to discourage unhealthy habits. Comprehensive health campaigns and screenings, strategically spread across the nation, will aim to catch diseases early and educate the public. Reinforcing this is the crucial enhancement of healthcare infrastructure, ensuring accessible and efficient medical care. Integral to this endeavor is the infusion of health education into school curricula, fostering a future generation that is health-conscious. Moreover, the establishment of community fitness programs stands to invigorate the Lebanese populace with the spirit of physical well-being. To knit these efforts together, a collaborative framework involving government sectors, private entities, and NGOs will be pivotal. By embracing this multi-layered approach, the government of Lebanon is not just combating diseases but is sculpting a vision of vitality and longevity for its people.

Emulating Success: How Lebanon Can Learn from UAE’s Public Health Triumphs
Examining the UAE’s approach offers specific insights for Lebanon’s NCD strategy. The UAE government implemented taxes on tobacco and soft drinks, a move proven to reduce consumption of these products. They also launched targeted health campaigns like the “Your Health is Your Responsibility” initiative, which focused on promoting healthy lifestyles, regular medical examinations, and smoking cessation. Additionally, the UAE integrated health education into school curricula and established wellness programs to foster early adoption of healthy habits. This disparity serves as a crucial learning point for Lebanon, underscoring the efficacy of the UAE’s health policies—from rigorous anti-smoking laws to nutritional awareness programs—that Lebanon could adopt. By mirroring such measures, Lebanon can embark on a transformative journey toward reducing its NCD burden, a move that would not only alleviate healthcare strain but also improve the quality of life for its citizens.

Lebanon vs. UAE: A Tale of Diverging Health Investments
The graph illustrates a notable disparity: in 2019, Lebanon experienced an unanticipated decrease in health expenditure, regardless of the emergence of COVID-19, in contrast to the consistent dedication observed in the UAE. This highlights an urgent requirement for Lebanon to reassess its funding for healthcare, guaranteeing that it has the capacity to endure and address unforeseen public health challenges with the same determination demonstrated by its neighboring country.

A Blueprint for Resilience: Lebanon’s Call to Action Against NCDs
In conclusion, Lebanon’s journey towards mitigating its NCD crisis necessitates immediate and decisive action. Drawing from the UAE’s successful model, Lebanon should adopt targeted fiscal policies such as increased taxation on tobacco and unhealthy foods, coupled with rigorous enforcement. Launching impactful health awareness campaigns and integrating health education into school systems are crucial for fostering a health-conscious society. Investing in healthcare infrastructure and accessibility, along with developing community-based wellness programs, will further strengthen this approach. Lebanon stands at a pivotal point, and these recommendations offer a blueprint for a healthier future. It’s a call to action for government, healthcare professionals, and citizens alike to collaboratively turn the tide against NCDs, ensuring a resilient and vibrant Lebanon for generations to come.

Food Trading (imports & export) in the Gulf region

Food Trading (imports & export) in the Gulf region

The percentage of Food export in Gulf Countries in 2019 is extremely low and the imports is relatively high comparing to exports. Gulf countries exhibited a notable disparity between food exports and imports, with food exports being exceedingly low and food imports substantially higher. Qatar, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, in particular, heavily relied on food imports to meet their consumption needs. This underscores a regional dependence on international food sources and highlights the importance of addressing food security to ensure stable access to essential resources in the Gulf.

Impact of Tax rate on Import and Export

The tax rates in Gulf countries as seen in the map can linked to the imports and exports, reveal an interesting correlation. Lower tax rates, such as those in Qatar and Kuwait, can encourage trade and potentially offset their low food exports and high food imports. Conversely, higher tax rates, as seen in Oman, might contribute to higher food import figures. The relatively lower tax rate in the UAE supports its role as a regional trade hub, which is reflected in its balanced import and export figures. The interplay between tax rates and trade statistics underscores the significance of fiscal policies in shaping the trade landscape of these Gulf nation

Agriculture & Industry

Influence of Water Withdrawals in Agriculture and Industry on food imports and exports

The water withdrawals data indicate the extent of agriculture and industrial activity in Gulf countries. Higher agricultural water withdrawals, as seen in Saudi Arabia and Oman, suggest self-sufficiency in food production. Meanwhile, countries with lower agriculture withdrawals, like Kuwait, may rely more on food imports. These water withdrawals can be linked to food import and export dynamics, influencing food security and trade strategies in the region.

Influence of Employment in Agriculture and Industry on food imports and exports

Higher Agricultural Employment & Food Trade:

Oman and Saudi Arabia, with higher agricultural employment, might have a more significant capacity for domestic food production. This could relate to their lower food imports and potential for food exports despite modest industrial growth.

Lower agricultural employment in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE could imply a heavier reliance on food imports due to limited domestic agricultural output, aligning with their higher food import figures.

Industrial Employment & Food Trade:

Qatar’s high industrial employment might suggest a lesser emphasis on agriculture, potentially leading to higher food imports despite economic diversification.

Other countries, with varying industrial employment rates, might showcase different levels of agricultural emphasis, influencing their food import-export dynamics.


Investment in Agricultural Innovation: Encourage technological advancements and innovation in agriculture to boost productivity, creating more jobs and improving food self-sufficiency..

Tax Reform: Implement tax policies that incentivize investment in both agricultural and industrial sectors, promoting growth and job creation in these areas.

Education and Skills Development: Invest in education and training programs to equip the workforce with the necessary skills for employment in agriculture, industry, and other emerging sectors.

Sustainable Resource Management: Implement sustainable water and land management practices to support agricultural growth without compromising environmental resources, thereby ensuring long-term economic stability.

UN Goals

Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth:

Employment in Agriculture and Industry: The distribution of employment in agriculture and industry reflects the economic structure of countries. Goal 8 emphasizes the importance of decent work and employment opportunities for sustained economic growth.

Food Import-Export Dynamics: Countries with higher agricultural employment might have stronger domestic agricultural sectors, impacting their trade balance in food. Conversely, higher industrial employment might affect the reliance on food imports due to potentially reduced emphasis on agriculture.

Tax Policies: Tax structures impact economic activities and employment opportunities. Favorable tax policies can stimulate growth in both agricultural and industrial sectors, contributing to Goal 8’s aim of fostering economic growth and decent work.

By focusing on inclusive economic growth, job creation, and enhancing productivity in both agriculture and industry, countries can contribute significantly to achieving Goal 8, ensuring sustainable and equitable economic development.

UN Goal Link – Goal 2: Zero Hunger:

Food Import-Export Dynamics: Countries with high food imports or low food exports often face challenges in achieving food security. Goal 2 aims to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

Agricultural Practices: Stronger agricultural sectors (linked to lower food imports or higher exports) directly contribute to achieving Goal 2. Sustainable agriculture practices, as encouraged by the goal, can enhance food production and reduce dependency on imports.