A WHO software application, the Health Equity Assessment Toolkit (HEAT), conceptualized by Ahmad Reza Hosseinpoor and Anne Schlotheuber of the department of Information, Evidence and Research, came "highly commended" in the prestigious British Medical Association (BMA) book competition on 4 September. Readers can use the software on their computers and mobile devices, to assess health equity in countries for a range of indicators and dimensions. Health equity data are visualized in a variety of customisable tables and graphs, making the tool interactive and easy to use.
“The issue of health inequalities is central to much of the thinking around health improvement globally and no region is exempt from the pernicious effect of health and social inequalities,” the judges said. “This toolkit is particularly relevant in supporting the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs).”
The database is continually updated and this, the judges said, is particularly important for low and middle-income countries where people may not have the resources to update the database themselves. When HEAT was first launched, it was restricted to data from the WHO’s Health Equity Monitor database, which contains disaggregated data on reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health for 111 countries.
The new edition of the toolkit, called HEAT Plus, enables users to upload data from their own sources, making it a comprehensive tool for analysing and reporting in any health topic and beyond at global, national, subnational levels. HEAT Plus, when it was tested in Indonesia, allowed people in that country to analyse and interpret inequalities in many other health topics using vast amounts of its own data including survey and facilities data.
“Monitoring health inequality is essential to ensure no one is being left behind,” said Dr Ahmad Reza Hosseinpoor, who leads WHO’s work on health equity monitoring. “WHO has developed a package of resources and tools to encourage the practice of and build capacity for global and national health inequality monitoring. HEAT provides evidence on the state of health inequality and can help countries set priorities and establish equity-oriented policies, programs and interventions.”
--> To access HEAT and HEAT Plus, visit the following website: http://www.who.int/gho/health_equity/assessment_toolkit/en/
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