ABSTRACT: POLICY POINTS: Many barriers hamper advocacy for health equity, including the contemporary economic zeitgeist, the biomedical health perspective, and difficulties cooperating across policy sectors on the issue. Effective advocacy should include persistent efforts to raise awareness and understanding of the social determinants of health. Education on the social determinants as part of medical training should be encouraged, including professional training within disadvantaged communities. Advocacy organizations have a central role in advocating for health equity given the challenges bridging the worlds of civil society, research, and policy.Health inequalities are systematic differences in health among social groups that are caused by unequal exposure to-and distributions of-the social determinants of health (SDH). They are persistent between and within countries despite action to reduce them. Advocacy is a means of promoting policies that improve health equity, but the literature on how to do so effectively is dispersed. The aim of this review is to synthesize the evidence in the academic and gray literature and to provide a body of knowledge for advocates to draw on to inform their efforts.This article is a systematic review of the academic literature and a fixed-length systematic search of the gray literature. After applying our inclusion criteria, we analyzed our findings according to our predefined dimensions of advocacy for health equity. Last, we synthesized our findings and made a critical appraisal of the literature.The policy world is complex, and scientific evidence is unlikely to be conclusive in making decisions. Timely qualitative, interdisciplinary, and mixed-methods research may be valuable in advocacy efforts. The potential impact of evidence can be increased by "packaging" it as part of knowledge transfer and translation. Increased contact between researchers and policymakers could improve the uptake of research in policy processes. Researchers can play a role in advocacy efforts, although health professionals and disadvantaged people, who have direct contact with or experience of hardship, can be particularly persuasive in advocacy efforts. Different types of advocacy messages can accompany evidence, but messages should be tailored to advocacy target. Several barriers hamper advocacy efforts. The most frequently cited in the academic literature are the current political and economic zeitgeist and related public opinion, which tend to blame disadvantaged people for their ill health, even though biomedical approaches to health and political short-termism also act as barriers. These barriers could be tackled through long-term actions to raise public awareness and understanding of the SDH and through training of health professionals in advocacy. Advocates need to take advantage of "windows of opportunity," which open and close quickly, and demonstrate expertise and credibility.This article brings together for the first time evidence from the academic and the gray literature and provides a building block for efforts to advocate for health equity. Evidence regarding many of the dimensions is scant, and additional research is merited, particularly concerning the applicability of findings outside the English-speaking world. Advocacy organizations have a central role in advocating for health equity, given the challenges bridging the worlds of civil society, research, and policy.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Equity in health has become an important policy agenda around the world, prompting health economists to advance methods to enable the inclusion of equity in economic evaluations. Among the methods that have been proposed to explicitly include equity are the weighting analysis, equity impact analysis, and equity trade-off analysis. This is a new development and a comprehensive overview of trends and concepts of health equity in economic evaluations is lacking. Thus, our objective is to map the current state of the literature with respect to how health equity is considered in economic evaluations of health interventions reported in the academic and gray literature. METHODS:We will conduct a scoping review to identify and map evidence on how health equity is considered in economic evaluations of health interventions. We will search relevant electronic, gray literature and key journals. We developed a search strategy using text words and Medical Subject Headings terms related to health equity and economic evaluations of health interventions. Articles retrieved will be uploaded to reference manager software for screening and data extraction. Two reviewers will independently screen the articles based on their titles and abstracts for inclusion, and then will independently screen a full text to ascertain final inclusion. A simple numerical count will be used to quantify the data and a content analysis will be conducted to present the narrative; that is, a thematic summary of the data collected. DISCUSSION:The results of this scoping review will provide a comprehensive overview of the current evidence on how health equity is considered in economic evaluations of health interventions and its research gaps. It will also provide key information to decision-makers and policy-makers to understand ways to include health equity into the prioritization of health interventions when aiming for a more equitable distribution of health resources. SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION:This protocol was registered with Open Science Framework (OSF) Registry on August 14, 2019 (https://osf.io/9my2z/registrations).
Project description:BACKGROUND:Marginalised communities such as homeless people, people who use drugs (PWUD), lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI), prisoners, sex workers and undocumented migrants are at high risk of poor health and yet face substantial barriers in accessing health and support services. The Nobody Left Outside (NLO) Service Design Checklist aims to promote a collaborative, evidence-based approach to service design and monitoring based on equity, non-discrimination and community engagement. METHODS:The Checklist was a collaborative project involving nine community advocacy organisations, with a focus on homeless people, PWUD, LGBTI people, prisoners, sex workers, and undocumented migrants. The Checklist was devised via a literature review; two NLO platform meetings; a multistakeholder policy workshop and an associated published concept paper; two conference presentations; and stakeholder consultation via a European Commission-led Thematic Network (including webinar). RESULTS:The NLO Checklist has six sections in line with the WHO Health Systems Framework. These are: (1) service delivery, comprising design stage (6 items), services provided (2 items), accessibility and adaptation (16 items), peer support (2 items); (2) health workforce (12 items); (3) health information systems (7 items); (4) medical products and technologies (1 item); (5) financing (3 items); and (6) leadership and governance (7 items). It promotes the implementation of integrated (colocated or linked) healthcare services that are community based and people centred. These should provide a continuum of needs-based health promotion, disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management, together with housing, legal and social support services, in alignment with the goals of universal health coverage and the WHO frameworks on integrated, people-centred healthcare. CONCLUSIONS:The Checklist is offered as a practical tool to help overcome inequalities in access to health and support services. Policymakers, public health bodies, healthcare authorities, practitioner bodies, peer support workers and non-governmental organisations can use it when developing, updating or monitoring services for target groups. It may also assist civil society in wider advocacy efforts to improve access for underserved communities.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Clinical practice guidelines are developed to improve the quality of healthcare. However, clinical guidelines may contribute to health inequities experienced by disadvantaged groups. This study uses an equity lens developed by the International Clinical Epidemiology Network (INCLEN) to examine how well clinical guidelines address inequities experienced by individuals with intellectual disabilities. METHODS: Nine health problems relevant to the health inequities experienced by persons with intellectual disabilities were selected. Clinical guidelines on these disorders were identified from across the world. The INCLEN equity lens was used as the basis for a purpose-designed, semistructured data collection tool. Two raters independently examined each guideline and completed the data collection tool. The data extracted by each rater were discussed at a research group consensus conference and agreement was reached on a final equity lens rating for each guideline. RESULTS: Thirty-six guidelines were identified, one of which (2.8%) explicitly excluded persons with intellectual disabilities. Of the remaining 35, six (17.1%) met the first criterion of the equity lens, identifying persons with intellectual disabilities at high risk for the specific health problem. Eight guidelines (22.9%) contained any content on intellectual disabilities. Six guidelines addressed the fourth equity lens criterion, by giving specific consideration to the barriers to implementation of the guideline in disadvantaged populations. There were no guidelines that addressed the second, third, and fifth equity lens criteria. CONCLUSIONS: The equity lens is a useful tool to systematically examine whether clinical guidelines address the health needs and inequities experienced by disadvantaged groups. Clinical guidelines are likely to further widen the health inequities experienced by persons with intellectual disabilities, and other disadvantaged groups, by being preferentially advantageous to the general population. There is a need to systematically incorporate methods to consider disadvantaged population groups into the processes used to develop clinical guidelines.
Project description:Inequities have a profound impact on the health and development of children globally. While inequities are greatest in the world's poorest countries, even in rich nations poorer children have poorer health and developmental outcomes. From birth through childhood to adolescence, morbidity, mortality, growth and development are socially determined, resulting in the most disadvantaged having the highest risk of poor health outcomes. Inequities in childhood impact across the life course. We consider four categories of actions to promote equity: strengthening individuals, strengthening communities, improving living and working conditions, and promoting healthy macropolicies. Inequities can be reduced but action to reduce inequities requires political will. The International Society for Social Paediatrics and Child Health (ISSOP) calls on governments, policy makers, paediatricians and professionals working with children and their organisations to act to reduce child health inequity as a priority. ISSOP recommends the following: governments act to reduce child poverty; ensure rights of all children to healthcare, education and welfare are protected; basic health determinants such as adequate nutrition, clean water and sanitation are available to all children. Paediatric and child health organisations ensure that their members are informed of the impact of inequities on children's well-being and across the life course; include child health inequities in curricula for professionals in training; publish policy statements relevant to their country on child health inequities; advocate for evidence-based pro-equity interventions using a child rights perspective; advocate for affordable, accessible and quality healthcare for all children; promote research to monitor inequity as well as results of interventions in their child populations. Paediatricians and child health professionals be aware of the impact of social determinants of health on children under their care; ensure their clinical services are accessible and acceptable to all children and families within the constraints of their country's health services; engage in advocacy at community and national level.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The randomized controlled trial (RCT) is considered the gold standard study design to inform decisions about the effectiveness of interventions. However, a common limitation is inadequate reporting of the applicability of the intervention and trial results for people who are "socially disadvantaged" and this can affect policy-makers' decisions. We previously developed a framework for identifying health-equity-relevant trials, along with a reporting guideline for transparent reporting. In this study, we provide a descriptive assessment of health-equity considerations in 200 randomly sampled equity-relevant trials. METHODS:We developed a search strategy to identify health-equity-relevant trials published between 2013 and 2015. We randomly sorted the 4316 records identified by the search and screened studies until 100 individually randomized (RCTs) and 100 cluster randomized controlled trials (CRTs) were identified. We developed and pilot-tested a data extraction form based on our initial work, to inform the development of our reporting guideline for equity-relevant randomized trials. RESULTS:In total, 39 trials (20%) were conducted in a low- and middle-income country and 157 trials (79%) in a high-income country focused on socially disadvantaged populations (78% CRTs, 79% RCTs). Seventy-four trials (37%) reported a subgroup analysis across a population characteristic associated with disadvantage (25% CRT, 49% RCTs), with 19% of included studies reporting subgroup analyses across sex, 9% across race/ethnicity/culture, and 4% across socioeconomic status. No subgroup analyses were reported for place of residence, occupation, religion, education, or social capital. One hundred and forty-one trials (71%) discussed the applicability of their results to one or more socially disadvantaged populations (68% of CRT, 73% of RCT). DISCUSSION:In this set of trials, selected for their relevance to health equity, data that were disaggregated for socially disadvantaged populations were rarely reported. We found that even when the data are available, opportunities to analyze health-equity considerations are frequently missed. The recently published equity extension of the Consolidated Reporting Standards for Randomized Trials (CONSORT-Equity) may help improve delineation of hypotheses related to socially disadvantaged populations, and transparency and completeness of reporting of health-equity considerations in RCTs. This study can serve as a baseline assessment of the reporting of equity considerations.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:A well-established body of literature demonstrates that health and equity are strongly influenced by the consequences of governments' policy and resultant actions (or inactions) outside the health sector. Consequently, the United Nations, and its agency the WHO, have called for national leadership and whole-of-government action to understand and address the health impacts of policies in all sectors. This research responds to that call by investigating how policymaking in four sectors-urban planning, justice, energy and environment-may influence the social determinants of health and health equity (SDH/HE). METHODS AND ANALYSIS:The research design is informed by a critical qualitative approach. Three successive stages are included in the design. The first involves analysing all strategic policy documents and selected legislative documents from the four sectors (n=583). The document analysis is based on a coding framework developed to identify alignment between the documents and the SDH/HE. Two policies that demonstrate good practice in regard to SDH/HE will be selected from each sector during the second stage for embedded case study analysis (total n=8). This is intended to illuminate which factors have supported recognition and action on SDH/HE in the selected policies. The third stage involves progressive theoretical integration and development to understand political and institutional facilitators and barriers to action on SDH/HE, both within and between sectors. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:The research will provide much needed evidence about how coherent whole-of-government action on SDH/HE can be advanced and contribute knowledge about how health-enhancing policy activity in the four sectors may be optimised. Learnings from the research will be shared via a project advisory group, policy briefings, academic papers, conference presentations and research symposia. Ethics approval has been secured for the embedded case studies, which involve research participants.
Project description:Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 calls for reducing mortality of children under-five years by two-thirds by 2015. Indonesia is on track to officially meet the MDG 4 targets by 2015 but progress has been far from universal. It has been argued that national level statistics, on which MDG 4 relies, obscure persistent health inequities within the country. Particularly inequities in child health are a major global public health challenge both for achieving MDG 4 in 2015 and beyond. This review aims to map out the situation of MDG 4 with respect to disadvantaged populations in Indonesia applying the Social Determinants of Health (SDH) framework. The specific objectives are to answer: Who are the disadvantaged populations? Where do they live? And why and how is the inequitable distribution of health explained in terms of the SDH framework?We retrieved studies through a systematic review of peer-reviewed and gray literature published in 1995-2014. The PRISMA-Equity 2012 statement was adapted to guide the methods of this review. The dependent variables were MDG 4-related indicators; the independent variable "disadvantaged populations" was defined by different categories of social differentiation using PROGRESS. Included texts were analyzed following the guidelines for deductive content analysis operationalized on the basis of the SDH framework. We identified 83 studies establishing evidence on more than 40 different determinants hindering an equitable distribution of child health in Indonesia. The most prominent determinants arise from the shortcomings within the rural health care system, the repercussions of food poverty coupled with low health literacy among parents, the impact of low household decision-making power of mothers, and the consequences of high persistent use of traditional birth attendants among ethnic minorities.This review calls for enhanced understanding of the determinants and pathways that create, detain, and overcome inequities in child health in resource constraint settings like Indonesia and the promotion of actionable health policy recommendations and tailored investments.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Even though there is a growing literature on barriers to formal healthcare use among older people, little is known from the perspective of vulnerable older people in Ghana. Involving poor older people under the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme, this study explores barriers to formal healthcare use in the Atwima Nwabiagya District of Ghana. METHODS:Interviews and focus group discussions were conducted with 30 poor older people, 15 caregivers and 15 formal healthcare providers in the Atwima Nwabiagya District of Ghana. Data were analysed using the thematic analytical framework, and presented based on an a posteriori inductive reduction approach. RESULTS:Four main barriers to formal healthcare use were identified: physical accessibility barriers (poor transport system and poor architecture of facilities), economic barriers (low income coupled with high charges, and non-comprehensive nature of the National Health Insurance Scheme [NHIS]), social barriers (communication/language difficulties and poor family support) and unfriendly nature of healthcare environment barriers (poor attitude of healthcare providers). CONCLUSIONS:Considering these barriers, removing them would require concerted efforts and substantial financial investment by stakeholders. We argue that improvement in rural transport services, implementation of free healthcare for poor older people, strengthening of family support systems, recruitment of language translators at the health facilities and establishment of attitudinal change programmes would lessen barriers to formal healthcare use among poor older people. This study has implications for health equity and health policy framework in Ghana.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Policies to mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can yield public health benefits by also reducing emissions of hazardous co-pollutants, such as air toxics and particulate matter. Socioeconomically disadvantaged communities are typically disproportionately exposed to air pollutants, and therefore climate policy could also potentially reduce these environmental inequities. We sought to explore potential social disparities in GHG and co-pollutant emissions under an existing carbon trading program-the dominant approach to GHG regulation in the US and globally. METHODS AND FINDINGS:We examined the relationship between multiple measures of neighborhood disadvantage and the location of GHG and co-pollutant emissions from facilities regulated under California's cap-and-trade program-the world's fourth largest operational carbon trading program. We examined temporal patterns in annual average emissions of GHGs, particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, volatile organic compounds, and air toxics before (January 1, 2011-December 31, 2012) and after (January 1, 2013-December 31, 2015) the initiation of carbon trading. We found that facilities regulated under California's cap-and-trade program are disproportionately located in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods with higher proportions of residents of color, and that the quantities of co-pollutant emissions from these facilities were correlated with GHG emissions through time. Moreover, the majority (52%) of regulated facilities reported higher annual average local (in-state) GHG emissions since the initiation of trading. Neighborhoods that experienced increases in annual average GHG and co-pollutant emissions from regulated facilities nearby after trading began had higher proportions of people of color and poor, less educated, and linguistically isolated residents, compared to neighborhoods that experienced decreases in GHGs. These study results reflect preliminary emissions and social equity patterns of the first 3 years of California's cap-and-trade program for which data are available. Due to data limitations, this analysis did not assess the emissions and equity implications of GHG reductions from transportation-related emission sources. Future emission patterns may shift, due to changes in industrial production decisions and policy initiatives that further incentivize local GHG and co-pollutant reductions in disadvantaged communities. CONCLUSIONS:To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine social disparities in GHG and co-pollutant emissions under an existing carbon trading program. Our results indicate that, thus far, California's cap-and-trade program has not yielded improvements in environmental equity with respect to health-damaging co-pollutant emissions. This could change, however, as the cap on GHG emissions is gradually lowered in the future. The incorporation of additional policy and regulatory elements that incentivize more local emission reductions in disadvantaged communities could enhance the local air quality and environmental equity benefits of California's climate change mitigation efforts.
Project description:Global health addresses health inequities in the care of underserved populations, both domestic and international. Given that health systems with a strong primary care foundation are the most equitable, effective and efficient, family medicine is uniquely positioned to engage in global health. However, there are no nationally recognized standards in Canada for postgraduate family medicine training in global health.To generate consensus on the essential components of a Global Health/Health Equity Enhanced Skills Program in family medicine.A panel comprised of 34 experts in global health education and practice completed three rounds of a Delphi small group process.Consensus (defined as ? 75% agreement) was achieved on program length (12 months), inclusion of both domestic and international components, importance of mentorship, methods of learner assessment (in-training evaluation report, portfolio), four program objectives (advocacy, sustainability, social justice, and an inclusive view of global health), importance of core content, and six specific core topics (social determinants of health, principles and ethics of health equity/global health, cultural humility and competency, pre and post-departure training, health systems, policy, and advocacy for change, and community engagement).Panellists agreed on a number of program components forming the initial foundation for an evidence-informed, competency-based Global Health/Health Equity Enhanced Skills Program in family medicine.