The preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization defines health as a "state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity", and that the "highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social conditions." Yet many individuals and groups do not have access to quality, affordable, and appropriate health information, services, and other resources that contribute to good health. Minimizing these unnecessary and avoidable disparities in health and its determinants can be an intentional policy and practice that will lead to health equity.
CORE Group partnered with its INGO members and the Maternal and Child Health Impact Program (MCHIP) to define health equity as "both the improvement of a health outcome of a disadvantaged group as well as a narrowing of the difference of this health outcome between advantaged and disadvantaged groups -- without losing the gains already achieved for the group with the highest coverage."
Our shared understanding is based on three key concepts:
1) Addressing equity means more than simply working in a disadvantaged geographical region; it means reaching the most disadvantaged within that region and making comparisons over time of health outcomes between disadvantaged and advantaged groups.
2) Developing strategies to address inequity requires understanding and deciding how to handle the underlying conditions.
3) Obtaining high coverage levels depends on decisions made along a continuum , from narrowly targeting a disadvantaged group to a universal approach aimed at all groups.
CORE Group's Community Health Network is committed to learning about effective tools and strategies to design and measure equity-focused health programs. This program learning page is a place for posting guidance on incorporating health equity into maternal, neonatal and child health project designs; highlighting tools and resources for equity design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation; and describing country case studies with lessons learned.
Watch this CORE Group produced video to learn more about the need for equity in health and how CORE Group brings together its members and partners to advance equity and community health worldwide.
The Baby Friendly Community Initiative (BFCI) was developed to expand on the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative's 10th step, focusing on support for breastfeeding mothers after they leave the hospital, which also provides an entry point to address the nutritional and developmental needs of both mother and child. The BFCI also addresses environmental sanitation, personal hygiene, and equity.
How to Design and Manage Equity Focused Evaluations
By Michael Bamberger and Marco Segone
The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to UNICEF Country Offices, their partners and Governmental and Civil Society stakeholders, including communities and worst-off groups, on how to design and manage evaluations to assess the contribution of pol¬icies, programmes and projects to equitable development results for children. The document is complemented by a resource centre on Equity-focused evaluation available at www.mymande.org, in which readers can access in more detail the methodological mate¬rial presented in this document. Therefore, this document should be used together with that electronic resource center.
- Action: SDH, an electronic Discussion Platform to improve health equity, launched at Rio World Conference on Social Determinants of Health
- Lancet: Equity in Child Survival, Health and Nutrition (September 2012)