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

Health Inequalities in the Arab World: A Story of Rich vs Poor

Health Inequalities in the Arab World: A Story of Rich vs Poor

Public health is linked to the economic strength of a country as health expenditure is positively associated with the productivity and GDP of a nation. The advances and improvement of many of the main forces driving economic growth over time span such as technological progress, education, and physical capital accumulation contribute to the improvement of health services in countries. However, with the world divided between first, second and third world countries, public health situation differs between economically strong and weak countries.

COVID-19, as a recent event, shed light on the differences in health systems within the Arab world, especially that the region includes some of the richest oil producing countries as well as poor and war-torn countries.

The below graph visually views the differences between the GDP of the Arab League Countries in the Year 2019. For example, at the top of the GDP scale , we have Qatar, a relatively geographically small GCC country and biggest producer of natural gas, has a GDP of $175 billion which is more than GDP of Libya, Lebanon, Sudan and Yemen combined.


The size of a country’s GDP determines the monetary value of its health expenditure as a percentage of GDP. Comparing the GDP tree map with Health Expenditure graph below , we can see that countries with high GDP (e.g, Qatar, UAE) shows small percentage of health expenditure while Countries with low GDP (e.g, Lebanon, Jordan) shows larger percentage of health expenditure.


In monetary terms, Lebanon has a highest total health expenditure % in the Arab World which amounts to 8.64%($51.6 B)= $4.45 billion. On the other hand, Qatar has a low health expenditure % of 2.9 but when multiplied by the country’s GDP, it amounts to 2.9%($175 B)= $5 billion.

Health Expenditure per capita shows the direct impact of GDP of a country on its health spending. As shown in the below graph, countries with high GDP have high health expenditure compared countries with low GDPs.

The above discussion pointed out the relationship between the strength of a country’s economy and its health spending. The question that remains is “How does this reflect on the health of people?”


Countries that allocate large budgets for the development of the health sector and public health perform well in the face of diseases, especially communicable diseases and pandemics such as COVID-19. The below bubble chart shows that countries with low GDP have the highest percentage of deaths by communicable diseases.


Life Expectancy and Death Rate

To further show the evidence of the impact of GDP and public health spending, we consider both indicators: Life Expectancy at Birth and Death Rate in the Arab League Countries.

  • Life Expectancy at Birth: we can that people from countries with high GDPs and high health expenditure per capita. Qatar leads the way with 80 years expected age in 2020 while Yemen has an expected age of 66 years in the same year.



  • Death Rate: the same pattern seen with Life Expectancy is also seen in death rates per 1000 persons. Qatar has a death rate of 1.2 compared to Yemen which has a death rate of 5.9, both in 2020.



What should be done?

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #3 “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” points out the need for improving the public health of the world population. Health spending by governments is a very important factor in the health of their people. However, for those countries who are economically disadvantaged, improving health can be also achieved through:

  • Investing in education, especially in medicine studies to make sure the health sector has the competent doctors and specialists.
  • Directing international aid more towards developing health sectors in poor countries rather than urgent assistance.
  • Investing in awareness: one of the most important ways to improve health in developing countries is by educating citizens to take preventive healthcare measures and avoid riskier health behaviors.


Mortality caused by unintentional poisoning in Africa

Mortality caused by unintentional poisoning in Africa

The mortality rate in Africa countries is very high compared to other countries worldwide. One cause of the mortality rate is the unintentional poisoning especially children. Because of the high poverty rate, low access to water, and high literacy rate, people are not much aware of the importance of hygenie and sanitation. This is causing a high mortality rate due to the unsafe water, sanitation and lack of hygiene. There is lot of unintentional poisoning cases in Africa compared to other countries in different continents. The problem is very serious and needs immediate response since its contribution to the overall mortality rate is high.

A response of the addressed problem is curing the poisoned case; however, the capacity in hospitals is low as the number of beds per 1000 persons is very low. Therefore, we are looking forward to solve the root problem and not only react to it. So, a good solution for the addressed problem is to increase awareness of how to avoid poisoning especially at home by the government, or related parties.

The awarness should takle these three aspects:

-How to clean food (vegetables, fruits) at home

-Filtering water with basic tools

-Right way of taking a medicine and storing it

-Right way to use chemicals or detergents and keep them away from children

More than 90% of poisoning cases are occurring at home. Therefore, starting to spread awareness of how to avoid getting poisoned at home might reduce the unintentional poisoning that is causing death. Thus, we are decreasing the mortality rate.

It’s true that we want to solve the problem from its base; however, we should also know how to provide good care and treatment for a poisoned case. This should be teached to people as first aid sessions to be eligible to approach a case and prevent the deterioration of his health or death.

The Right to Longevity and Healthy Aging: Health Expenditure & Life Expectancy Issue

The Right to Longevity and Healthy Aging: Health Expenditure & Life Expectancy Issue


Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages GOAL:3

On the morning of his 45th birthday, Pedro woke up feeling depressed and anxious what was supposedly a happy occasion was one step closer to inevitable death for Pedro. You see no one in Pedro’s family has ever surpassed the age of 50 to think of it Pedro doesn’t know anyone who has lived above 50 in Mozambique. as Pedro went into the

kitchen to see his three children and wife who had prepared a lovely breakfast for this day. The thought that in a few years he won’t be able to be next to his loved ones ever again broke his heart no father wishes to leave his children.

Mozambique is one of many countries that suffer from low life expectancy at birth due to poor healthcare in the country. Even if the treatment was availableit would be extremely expensive. The average person who lives in Mozambique like Pedro couldn’t afford treatment when needed. All over the country, people are dying early because treatment for simple diseases is not easily accessible.

This tragic occurrence leads to the early death of many people. Like Pedro, there are thousands of people who pray that the government will establish an effective well-trained healthcare system that is also affordable and accessible to everyone in the country.

A proper healthcare system will extend the lives of people like Pedro who wish to stay next to their loved ones for years to come without fear of death at an early age. For a health system to be truly effective it needs to be adequately supervised by the government along hiring trained professionals to ensure the success of the system.

strong regulations and close observation by governments are required so that hospitals and pharmacies don’t take advantage of the people.

If proper healthcare is made accessible to people, health expenditure will increase leading to an increase in life expectancy.

Everyone deserves to live a long healthy life!


In year 2000 we can see that the life expectancy at birth was an average of 48.95 years back then the current health expenditure(%of GDP) was on average 2.26





In year 2019 Mozambique Current health expenditure (%of GDP) became an average of 7.83 and obviously the life expectancy at birth increased to 60.85 years

PROBLEM: The lack of proper healthcare Leeds to Low life expectancy in less developed countries this  means that people are dying at early ages Because they do not get access to early diagnosis ,timely treatments and resources to treat  the disease.

PROBLEM EVIDENCE :Life expectancy depends on variables that are related to healthcare resources it is obvious That if we look at the current health expenditure(%GDP) that represents the level of resources c

hanneled to health relative uses of the different countries we can see that countries who spend less on health expenditure have a lower life expectancy and vice versa.

POTENTIAL SOLUTION: Proper access to healthcare is associated with lo

w risks of mortality meaning higher life expectancy. Providing access to healthcare and making prices of medication affordable is essential also it is important to focus on patient engagement and connection in order to treat the patient better

SOLUTION DETAILS:Government should work on lowering prices of prescription drugs so that they can be accessible to people who need them. Government must preserve the interests of its citizens by supplem

enting the market where there are gaps and regulate markets to improve efficiency and illuminate any unfairnessin the health sector this will require strong regulations and close observation by governments

SOLUTION VALIDATION:Through the graphs we can see valid evidence that countries that spend more on current healthcare expenditure tend to have higher life expectancy for example In Mozambique in year 2000 we can see that the life expectancy at birth was an average of 48.95 years back then the current health expenditure(%of GDP) was on average 2.26 when the current health expenditure started increasing so did the life expectancy in year 2019 Mozambique Current health expenditure (%of GDP) became an average of 7.83 and obviously the life expectancy at birth increased to 60.85 years meaning that The life expectancy improved 11.9 years this was also the case in a lot of other countries

RECOMMENDATION: For this to be possible it is recommended to recruit train and produce rise health workers because they are the heart of any strong healthcare system also establish affective surveillance on the healthcare industry (pharmacies and hospitals) by improving access to affordable Stable inclusive treatments

Renewable energy production: Earth saver.

Air Pollution and Carbon Dioxide emissions:

“Most air pollution comes from energy use and production,” says John Walke, director of the Clean Air Project which is part of the Climate and Clean Energy program at the National Resources Defense Council. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that each year, air pollution is the major cause of the death of nearly seven million people on Earth. Air pollution has several causes such as:

  • Burning fossil fuels
  • Industrial emissions
  • Wildfires
  • CO2 and other greenhouse gases emissions

According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, it is estimated that deaths due to the devastated air quality will continue to rise till 2100 and the economic value of the health benefits was estimated to be between $50 and $380 for each ton of carbon dioxide emitted.

Ever since the industrial revolution, there was an outbreak of industries in all fields ranging from mechanical production to electrical to technical. All these productions relied mostly on heavy machinery that in fact, combusted energy sources (such as fuel, oil, diesel…) and in a complex series of chemical reactions, released gases.  One of those gases is Carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 by itself is not bad because it is a needed chemical in nature. However, CO2 levels in the air have been increasing drastically to the point that they have become one of the major sources in air pollution, according to MDPI.

Carbon Dioxide from electricity production:

According to the World Nuclear Association, almost 40% of the energy-related CO2 emissions are due to burning of the fossil fuels for electricity production. Because a huge part of electricity production depends on burning fuels, there will be a mass of CO2 emitted to the air. This in turn leads to high CO2 emissions, especially from the countries that depend completely on burning fuels to produce electricity. The visuals below demonstrate and prove that the regions that had the highest CO2 emissions from electricity and heat production in 2014 tended to have the highest air pollution rates. The Carbon dioxide emission rates were highest in the middle east, east Africa and east Asia compared to the low numbers of North America and Europe. The same former countries had the highest air pollution rates (PM2.5) compared to the latter. Therefore, we can conclude that the higher the dependency on fuel combustion for energy production, the higher the CO2 emission rates, the higher the air pollution rates. On the long run, this can have devastating effects on the nature, climate and humans.

What can be done?

After governments realized the devastating effects of the gaseous emissions on the air quality and on humans in general, several attempts were done, such as awareness programs among the youth, restrictive laws and advertising. However, these attempts tackled the tip of the iceberg of the problem. A solution is needed to solve the problem deep from within the roots, to prevent it from happening in the first place. Producing energy from renewables could be a potential solution. The most common renewable power technologies are through Solar, wind, biogas, geothermal, low-impact hydroelectricity and biomass. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, generating energy from renewable sources reduces air pollution, diversifies energy supply and creates economic development.

To reduce the gaseous emissions and air pollution, several countries tried to develop their technological and scientific knowledge of renewable energy production as saw a promise in using renewables, that could one day, be substituted for fuel combustion to produce energy. In fact, developed countries such as USA and the EU countries took serious initiatives to use renewable energy production. The below figures show that countries that increased their electrical energy production from renewable sources over the time period of 2005-2014 had the least air pollution rates in 2014. The EU countries and North America had the highest dependency on using renewables to produce electricity compared to the middle east, east Africa and east Asia and the former regions in turn had air pollution rates that are much lower.

Renewable energy production, therefore, is a clean energy source that can reduce Carbon dioxide emissions and in turn lead to a better, sustainable and a healthy planet that has a rich and high air quality.

Infant Mortality Rate in Low-income Countries

Infant Mortality Rate in Low-income Countries


The Sustainable Development Goal 3 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is to “ensure healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages”.

However, many low- and middle-income countries are having higher mortality rate for infant and lower life expectancy in general compared to other higher income countries.

Infant mortality is the death of young children under the age of one. The infant mortality rate (IMR) is the number of infant deaths for every 1,000 live births.

The first map shows the IMR of most countries around the world. It changes by years. From the map, we can see the global IMR has decreased from 1990 to 2021 and is predicted to continue to decrease in the future However it’s still higher in low-income countries.

Infant Mortality Rate is an important indicator of the overall health of a society. It also reflects the social, economic, and environmental conditions in which children live. There are a number of causes of infant mortality that vary from country to country, including poor sanitation, poor water quality, malnutrition of the mother and infant, and inadequate prenatal and medical care.

Visualizing the data from the World Development Indicators (WDI) throughout different years shows clearly that there is inequality in health, clean resources and vaccination coverage as well.

One of the main reasons for the high IMR is the lack of vaccination, taking Measles as an example, Measles is a highly contagious, serious disease caused by a virus. Before the introduction of measles vaccine in 1963 and widespread vaccination, major epidemics occurred approximately every 2–3 years and measles caused an estimated 2.6 million deaths each year.

More than 140 000 people died from measles in 2018 (over 300 deaths a day) mostly children under the age of 5 years, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine.

Due to gaps in vaccination coverage, in high income regions of the world such as Western Europe, measles causes death in about 1 in 5000 cases, but as many as 1 in 100 will die in the poorest regions of the world.

Another important fact to focus on is the Health expenditure per capita which is the amount that each country spends on health, for both individual and collective services.

We notice that the low-income countries have the lowest rate compared the other countries such as US and Finland.

This prevents many women of the low-income countries from getting proper and adequate medical attention due to their inability to afford good care

This is also another reason for the high Infant mortality rate in these countries because they don’t give much importance and budget for the country health system



There are different causes of infant mortality that vary from country to country, including poor sanitation, poor water quality, malnutrition of the mother and infant, Vaccination and inadequate prenatal and medical care. So, in order to reduce the rate, it’s necessary to enhance the standards of living in these countries on different levels:

  • Measles vaccination for children, combined with mass immunisation campaigns in countries with high case and death rates, are key public health strategies to reduce IMR
  • Improve life conditions by providing an access to a cleaner food and beverage.
  • Increasing the delivery services within health facilities
  • Health expenditure need be prioritized by laws: Countries that have prioritized policies on health-care expenditure and have high levels of health spending are those that have succeeded in lowering their infant mortality rates
  • Encourage NGOs and the other organization to create projects in these countries for employability purpose and providing solutions to the people’s needs.


  • Monitor the world development indicators (e.g., Infant mortality rate, access to clean food, immunization, GDP,, …) in such countries over the next period and see with how much and how these indicators changed after doing these solutions.


  • Reducing mortality rate may lead to Improving labor supply resulting in improved household income and economic well-being of families and communities.
  • Trying to reduce inequality between high- and low-income countries will empower and promote inclusive social and economic growth