Progress towards universal health coverage for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health must be assessed not only in terms of national averages, but also on how well such gains benefit all subgroups living in a country. National averages can hide persistent inequalities that need to be addressed.
In recognition of the importance of equity for overall country progress, the Sustainable Development Goal target 17.18 calls for the disaggregation of national statistics according to income, gender, place of residence, ethnicity and other relevant variables.
Disaggregated analyses of intervention coverage are important for ethical and practical reasons. Such analyses help identify which women, children, and adolescents are being left behind – information that countries can use to design better and more inclusive policies and programs.
Countdown to 2030 has prepared equity profiles that show the magnitude and trends in health disparities in all low and middle-income countries with a recent DHS or MICS survey. The four-page Bangladesh equity profile is showcased here. The first page includes a map and a set of graphs showing coverage levels of effective interventions across the continuum of care for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and nutrition disaggregated by provinces, wealth quintiles, and urban/rural areas of residence. The second page includes a detailed table showing simple measures of wealth inequality (absolute differences between sub-groups and ratios) and complex measures including the slope index of inequality and the concentration index. This is followed by another table showing data for key interventions along the continuum of care for each of the 8 regions in Bangladesh. The final page includes detailed notes on all of the indicators, the different equity measures used, and an explanation on how to interpret the graphs.
Like the national Countdown country profile, the equity profile is meant to equip country decision makers with a tool to help them monitor progress and for programming and planning purposes.
The equity country profiles are prepared by the Equity Technical Working Group of Countdown and the team at the International Center for Equity in Health, Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil.