The IHME in the Shifting Landscape of Global Health Metrics

The rise of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) has augured profound changes in the landscape of global health metrics. Primarily funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the IHME has offered donors a platform for assessing many health‐related Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators and a toolkit to measure the progress of different countries. The IHME's increasing influence reveals the relative sidelining of international agencies and especially the World Health Organization which has long been central to global health metrics production. This shift reflects a growing conflict between the expertise and norms of national and intergovernmental statistical production on the one hand, and the distinct epistemologies and logics of new non‐state data actors. These transitions – from an international world of statistics to a more plural, global realm of data – have acute implications for the politics and accountability of knowledge production related to the SDGs and development writ large. Even as the SDGs embrace the rubric of ‘no one left behind’, the emerging data politics might be eroding the ability of poorer states to know and act upon their development problems on their own terms.