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Tracking progress towards the Millennium Development Goals: reaching consensus on child mortality levels and trends.
Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2006 Mar; 84(3):225-232.The increased attention to tracking progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), including Goal 4 of reducing child mortality, has drawn attention to a number of interrelated technical, operational and political challenges and to the underlying weaknesses of country health information systems upon which reliable monitoring depends. Assessments of child mortality published in 2005, for almost all low-income countries, are based on an extrapolation of the trends observed during the 1990s, rather than on the empirical data for more recent years. The validity of the extrapolation depends on the quality and quantity of the data used, and many countries lack suitable data. In the long run, it is hoped that vital registration or sample registration systems will be established to monitor vital events in a sustainable way. However, in the short run, tracking child mortality in high-mortality countries will continue to rely on household surveys and extrapolations of historical trends. This will require more collaborative efforts both to collect data through initiatives to strengthen health information systems at the country level, and to harmonize the estimation process. The latter objective requires the continued activity of a coordinating group of international agencies and academics that aims to produce transparent estimates -- through the consistent application of an agreed-upon methodology -- for monitoring at the international level. (author's)
MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2011 Dec 2; 60:1611-4.Rotavirus disease is the leading cause of childhood morbidity and mortality related to diarrhea in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), where an estimated 8,000 deaths related to rotavirus diarrhea occur annually among children aged <5 years. After two safe and effective rotavirus vaccines became available, the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2007 recommended inclusion of rotavirus vaccine in the immunization programs of Europe and the Americas, and in 2009 expanded the recommendation to all infants aged <32 weeks worldwide. This report describes progress in the introduction of rotavirus vaccine in LAC, where it was first introduced in 2006 in Brazil, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Venezuela; by January 2011, it was included in the national immunization schedules of 14 countries in LAC. Estimated national rotavirus vaccine coverage (2 doses of the monovalent vaccine or 3 doses of the pentavalent vaccine) among children aged <1 year in 2010 ranged from 49% to 98% (median: 89%) in the 11 LAC countries with vaccine introduction before 2010. Of the 14 countries that had introduced rotavirus vaccine into their national immunization programs, 13 participate in a hospital-based rotavirus surveillance network. Data from some countries in this network and from other monitoring efforts in LAC countries have shown declines in hospitalizations and deaths related to severe diarrhea after rotavirus vaccine introduction. The rapid introduction of rotavirus vaccine in LAC demonstrates the benefits of the early commitment of national decision makers to introduce these vaccines in low-income and middle-income countries at the same time as in high-income countries.
Monitoring health inequality: an essential step for achieving health equity. Illustrations of fundamental concepts.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 2014.  p. (WHO/FWC/GER/2014.1)This booklet communicates fundamental concepts about the importance of health inequality monitoring, using text, figures, maps and videos. Following a brief summary of main messages, four general principles pertaining to health inequalities are highlighted: 1. Health inequalities are widespread; 2. Health inequality is multidimensional; 3. Benchmarking puts changes in inequality in context; and 4.Health inequalities inform policy. Each of the four principles is accompanied by figures or maps that illustrate the concept, a question that is posed as an extension and application of the material, and a link to a video, demonstrating the use of interactive visuals to answer the question. The videos are accessible online by scanning a QR code (a URL is also provided). The next section of the booklet outlines essential steps forward for achieving health equity, including the strengthening and equity orientation of health information systems through data collection, data analysis and reporting practices. The use of visualization technologies as a tool to present data about health inequality is promoted, accompanied by a link to a video demonstrating how health inequality data can be presented interactively. Finally, the booklet announces the upcoming State of inequality report, and refers readers to the Health Equity Monitor homepage on the WHO Global Health Observatory.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 2015. 124 p.The report delivers both promising and disappointing messages about the situation in low- and middle-income countries. Within-country inequalities have narrowed, with a tendency for national improvements driven by faster improvements in disadvantaged subgroups. However, inequalities still persist in most reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health indicators. The extent of within-country inequality differed by dimension of inequality and by country, country income group and geographical region. There is still much progress to be made in reducing inequalities in RMNCH.