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Global Health Action. 2015 Sep 18; 8:29034.Background: Health equity is a priority in the post-2015 sustainable development agenda and other major health initiatives. The World Health Organization (WHO) has a history of promoting actions to achieve equity in health, including efforts to encourage the practice of health inequality monitoring. Health inequality monitoring systems use disaggregated data to identify disadvantaged subgroups within populations and inform equity-oriented health policies, programs, and practices. Objective: This paper provides an overview of a number of recent and current WHO initiatives related to health inequality monitoring at the global and/or national level. Design: We outline the scope, content, and intended uses / application of the following: Health Equity Monitor database and theme page; State of inequality: reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health report; Handbook on health inequality monitoring: with a focus on low- and middle-income countries; Health inequality monitoring eLearning module; Monitoring health inequality: an essential step for achieving health equity advocacy booklet and accompanying video series; and capacity building workshops conducted in WHO Member States and Regions. Conclusions: The paper concludes by considering how the work of the WHO can be expanded upon to promote the establishment of sustainable and robust inequality monitoring systems across a variety of health topics among Member States and at the global level. Copyright: 2015 World Health Organization. Open Access.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 2011.  p.This tool, developed in collaboration between WHO, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) is designed to support countries to strengthen national health strategies by applying human rights and gender equality commitments and obligations. The tool poses critical questions to identify gaps and opportunities in the review or reform of health sector strategies.
Lancet. 1993 Aug 14; 342(8868):441.The World Bank's prescription, unexceptionable and laudable where it can be afforded, fails to acknowledge the plight of those living in countries where an absolute lack of resources precludes any hope of an economic or social environment in which the prescription can be filled. This is a new situation, and one which has been created largely by the increasing pressure of debt, by the inefficient use of resources by both governments and international donors, by corruption, in some cases by conflict, by the resurgence of diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis, and by the growing impact of HIV infection. The result has been, in some cases, an almost complete collapse of government revenues for welfare services. For example, government expenditure on health in Uganda is Us$1.4 per capita yearly, a decline in real terms of 95% since 1972. In these circumstances, precisely where the need is greatest, the Bank's prescription for reform of the health sector cannot apply. Nobody can reallocate, or better manage, funds that do not exist. Although true equity in health remains a dream, the aspiration towards it is enshrined in all UN documents. By failing to acknowledge the plight of those living in parts of the world where there is an absolute lack of resources, this report may inadvertently encourage belief in the principle of "Health for All (those who can afford it) by the year 2000". (full text)
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH. 1990 Oct; 80(10):1188-92.Health trends since 1950 in both developed and developing countries are classified and discussed in terms of causative factors: socioeconomic development, cross-national influences and growth of national health systems. Despite the vast differences in scale of health statistics between developed and developing countries, economic hardships and high military expenditures, all nations have demonstrated significant declines in life expectancy and infant mortality rates. Social and economic factors that influenced changes included independence from colonial rule in Africa and Asia and emergence from feudalism in China, industrialization, rising gross domestic product per capita and urbanization. An example of economic development is doubling to tripling of commercial energy consumption per capita. Social advancement is evidenced by higher literacy rates, school enrollments and education of women. Cross-national influences that improved overall health include international trade, spread of technology, and the universal acceptance of the idea that health is a human right. National health systems in developing countries are receiving increasing shares of the GNP. Total health expenditure by government is highly correlated with life expectancy. The view of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund that health care should be privatized is a step backward with anti-egalitarian consequences. The UN Economic Commission for Africa attacked the IMF and the World Bank for promoting private sector funding of health care stating that this leads to lower standards of living and poorer health among the disadvantaged. Suggested health strategies for the future should involve effective action in the public sector: adequate financial support of national health systems; political commitment to health as the basis of national security; citizen involvement in policy and planning; curtailing of smoking, alcohol, drugs and violence; elimination of environmental and toxic hazards; and maximum international collaboration.