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BMC Medical Research Methodology

, 16:141

Data analysis, statistics and modelling


BackgroundIt is widely recognised that the pursuit of sustainable development cannot be accomplished without addressing inequality, or observed differences between subgroups of a population. Monitoring health inequalities allows for the identification of health topics where major group differences exist, dimensions of inequality that must be prioritised to effect improvements in multiple health domains, and also population subgroups that are multiply disadvantaged. While availability of data to monitor health inequalities is gradually improving, there is a commensurate need to increase, within countries, the technical capacity for analysis of these data and interpretation of results for decision-making. Prior efforts to build capacity have yielded demand for a toolkit with the computational ability to display disaggregated data and summary measures of inequality in an interactive and customisable fashion that would facilitate interpretation and reporting of health inequality in a given country.

MethodsTo answer this demand, the Health Equity Assessment Toolkit HEAT, was developed between 2014 and 2016. The software, which contains the World Health Organization’s Health Equity Monitor database, allows the assessment of inequalities within a country using over 30 reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health indicators and five dimensions of inequality economic status, education, place of residence, subnational region and child’s sex, where applicable.

Results-ConclusionHEAT was beta-tested in 2015 as part of ongoing capacity building workshops on health inequality monitoring. This is the first and only application of its kind; further developments are proposed to introduce an upload data feature, translate it into different languages and increase interactivity of the software. This article will present the main features and functionalities of HEAT and discuss its relevance and use for health inequality monitoring.

AbbreviationsDHSDemographic and Health Survey

HEATHealth Equity Assessment Toolkit

MICSMultiple Indicator Cluster Survey

RMNCHReproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health

SDGsSustainable Development Goals

WHOWorld Health Organisation

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Autor: Ahmad Reza Hosseinpoor - Devaki Nambiar - Anne Schlotheuber - Daniel Reidpath - Zev Ross


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