Introduction

The WHO package allows the user to download public health data from the World Health Organization’s Global Health Observatory in a dynamic and reproducible way.

The package can be installed from either CRAN or Github (development version):

# From CRAN
install.packages("WHO")

# From Github
library(devtools)
install_github("expersso/WHO")

library(WHO)

Usage Example

The get_codes function returns a data frame with series codes and descriptions for all available series:

library(dplyr)

codes <- get_codes()
glimpse(codes)
## Observations: 2,161
## Variables: 3
## $ label   (chr) "MDG_0000000001", "MDG_0000000003", "MDG_0000000005", ...
## $ display (chr) "Infant mortality rate (probability of dying between b...
## $ url     (chr) "http://apps.who.int/gho/indicatorregistry/App_Main/vi...

(To retrieve additional meta information (e.g. French and Spanish descriptions, category breakdowns of series, etc), use get_codes(extra = TRUE).)

To find a series of interest, use either View(codes) in Rstudio, or search with regular expressions:

codes[grepl("[Ll]ife expectancy", codes$display), ]
## Source: local data frame [3 x 3]
## 
##           label                                         display
##           <chr>                                           <chr>
## 1 WHOSIS_000001                Life expectancy at birth (years)
## 2 WHOSIS_000002 Healthy life expectancy (HALE) at birth (years)
## 3 WHOSIS_000015               Life expectancy at age 60 (years)
## Variables not shown: url <chr>.

Having found the series of interest (in the label column), we can easily retrieve the data and, for example, make a chart:

library(ggplot2)

df <- get_data("WHOSIS_000001")

head(df)
## Source: local data frame [6 x 8]
## 
##                country                              gho  year    sex
##                  <chr>                            <chr> <dbl>  <chr>
## 1              Andorra Life expectancy at birth (years)  2000 Female
## 2 United Arab Emirates Life expectancy at birth (years)  2000 Female
## 3  Antigua and Barbuda Life expectancy at birth (years)  1990   Male
## 4  Antigua and Barbuda Life expectancy at birth (years)  2012   Male
## 5  Antigua and Barbuda Life expectancy at birth (years)  1990 Female
## 6            Australia Life expectancy at birth (years)  1990   Male
## Variables not shown: region <chr>, worldbankincomegroup <chr>,
##   publishstate <chr>, value <dbl>.
df %>% 
  filter(sex == "Both sexes") %>% 
  group_by(region, year) %>%
  summarise(value = mean(value)) %>% 
  ggplot(aes(x = year, y = value, color = region, linetype = region)) +
  geom_line(size = 1) +
  theme_light(9) +
  labs(x = NULL, y = "Life expectancy at birth (years)\n", 
       linetype = NULL, color = NULL,
       title = "Evolution of life expectancy (by region)\n")

Disclaimer

This package is in no way officially related to or endorsed by the WHO.