Equity Analyses and Profiles
National data on coverage levels often hide important disparities among population subgroups. Inequities in health have several dimensions, including socioeconomic position, gender, place of residence, and ethnic group. Mothers and children belonging to disadvantaged groups are less likely to receive essential preventive and curative interventions, and as a result show higher morbidity and mortality.
Improving equity is essential for achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Countdown therefore aims not only to promote increased coverage levels for the population as a whole, but also to ensure that disadvantaged groups do not lag behind.
Countdown’s Equity Working Group carries out analyses of survey results from the priority Countdown countries, and provides breakdowns of key reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health indicators according to the different dimensions of equity. Countdown equity analyses include systematic breakdowns of key coverage indicators by wealth quintiles, maternal education, sex of the child, urban/rural residence, and region of the country.
On this page, Countdown presents data and analysis relating to equity of coverage for interventions essential for reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health. The Equity Working Group’s research is presented in detail in equity profiles prepared for individual Countdown countries (see below) and is summarized in the Countdown Reports. It has also been presented in more detail in the following articles published in The Lancet:
- Victora C, Barros A, et al, How changes in coverage affect equity in maternal and child health interventions in 35 Countdown to 2015 countries: an analysis of national surveys. Lancet 2012, 21 September 2012. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61427-5. (PDF)
- Barros A, Ronsmans C, Axelson H, et al., Equity in maternal, newborn, and child health interventions in Countdown to 2015: a retrospective review of survey data from 54 countries. Lancet 2011. 379 (9822), 1225-1233. (PDF)
- Countdown 2008 Equity Analysis Group, Mind the gap: equity and trends in coverage of maternal, newborn and child health services in 54 Countdown countries. Lancet. 371 (9620): 1259-1267. (PDF)
As a supplement to the Countdown Reports in 2012 and 2010, the Equity Working Group produced equity profiles containing extra information on selected maternal and child health indicators. In addition, the profiles present the Slope Index of Inequality and the Concentrator Index for each health indicator, as well as a variety of charts including the coverage gap by wealth quintile, coverage levels for selected interventions along the continuum of care, and the percentage of children aged 1-4 years according to the number of key child-survival interventions received, by wealth quintile. Each of these measures is described in detail in Annex E from the 2010 report.
Measuring equity in MNCH through the coverage gap index: technical notes
(Annex E of 2008 Decade Report) [PDF - 176 KB]
Equity profiles for individual countries, along with full Countdown country profiles from 2012, 2010, 2008, and 2005, are available here.